How they compare
Flat screen televisions have completely transformed the way we watch movies at home and the key driver to their huge success has been LCD technology.
Liquid-crystal displays have rid our homes of the massive, bulky conventional CRT televisions of yore, replacing them with incredibly thin and lightweight flat screen TVs. This has meant for the first time TVs can easily be hung on the wall. In fact so sleek and stylish are some LCD TVs, they look great even when they're not turned on!
While LCD technology has its origins in the PC monitor market, LCD TVs can now be found in screen sizes of up to 108 inches! How are these size differences measured? Well, when comparing a 32 LCD TV to a 37 LCD TV, for example, the 5 inch difference is measured diagonally, from one bottom corner of the screen itself to the opposite top corner.
There is an LCD screen size for any application, from cheap TVs to reference standard sets, but the favourite sizes are 32 inch LCD TV and 42 inch LCD TV, although 37 inch LCD TVs are now proving equally popular.
For a while LCD televisions slugged it out with plasma for market supremacy, but LCDs are now, by far, the most widely produced and sold television technology, relegating all the over formats to mere walk on parts. This is partly because LCDs have a higher native resolution than plasmas or CRTs making them ideal for High Definition films or transmissions.
The LCD television market is developing so rapidly that you see large performance improvements year on year. And it is fair to say that LCDs deliver the crispest, sharpest images currently available.
Basically, LCD panels are made of two layers of transparent material, which are polarized, and are glued together. One of the layers is coated with a special polymer that holds the individual liquid crystals.
Behind these pixels is a fluorescent white backlight. When the light hits the pixels, an electric current determines how much light is fed into one of three sub-pixels or chambers - red, blue and green. The amount determines what colour appears on the screen, and the millions of tiny light variations make up the image that you see on your screen. A 1080p panel has 2,073,600 pixels (1920x1080).