With the explosion of popularity in flat-panel TVs the
average consumer can feel overwhelmed with the various ones to choose
from. The three main units are a Plasma, LCD or LED TV. What's the difference?
What works best for you? Follow our TV buying guide below to help assist
you in picking the best TV for you.
Plasma television technology is based loosely on the fluorescent light
bulb. The display itself consists of cells. Within each cell two glass
panels are separated by a narrow gap in which neon-xenon gas is injected
and sealed in plasma form during the manufacturing process. The gas is
electrically charged at specific intervals when the Plasma set is in use.
The charged gas then strikes red, green, and blue phosphors, thus creating
a television image. Each group of red, green, and blue phosphors is called
a pixel (picture element).
This technology is different from that of a traditional television. A
traditional television has a Cathode Ray Tube, or CRT. A CRT is basically
a large vacuum tube in which an electronic beam, emanating from a single
point in the neck of the tube, scans the face of the tube very rapidly,
which, in turn lights up red, green, or blue phosphors on the tube's surface
in order to create an image.
The main advantage of Plasma over CRT technology is that, by utilizing
a sealed cell with charged plasma for each pixel, the need for a scanning
electron beam in eliminated, which, in turn, eliminates the need for a
large Cathode Ray Tube to produce video images. This is why traditional
televisions are shaped more like boxes and Plasma televisions are thin
and flat. A benefit of plasma is that, to the naked eye, blacks are blacker
and colors are more vibrant. Shop
Abt's full line of Plasma TVs.
An LCD Television is a flat panel television that utilizes the same basic
Liquid Crystal Display technology that has been in used for some time
in cell phones, camcorder viewfinders, and computer monitors. LCD panels
are made of two layers of a glass-like material, which are polarized,
and are "glued" together. One of the layers is coated with a
special polymer that holds the individual liquid crystals. Electric current
is then passed through individual crystals, which allow the crystals to
pass or block light to create images. LCD crystals do not produce their
own light, so an external light source, such as florescent bulb is needed
for the image created by the LCD to become visible to the viewer. LCD
televisions can be made very thin, thus allowing them to hung on a wall
or placed on small stand on top of a table, desk, dresser, or cabinet
very easily. Shop
Abt's full line of LCD TVs.
Light Emitting Diode (LED) is very similar to LCD TVs in that they use
Liquid Crystals to produce an image. The difference is that the light
is emitted through a diode that is brighter, can last longer and uses
less energy. They are like little light bulbs, which use very little power
compared to the light that they produce. This makes them good for the
environment. They are also mercury free-another environmental plus. LED
TVs boast the three "C's": color, contrast, and clarity. These
TVs can be produced extremely thin which is both space-saving and aesthetically
appealing in whichever room of your home.
There are two various ways the LEDs can be lit on the TV: edge-lit or
full array. Full array refers to televisions that use a full panel of
LEDs to illuminate the pixels. Most of these sets also have local dimming,
which means the LEDs can be dimmed in different regions of the panel simultaneously,
which improves black levels and picture uniformity. Edge-lit, on the other
hand, means the LEDs that illuminate the pixels are located only on the
edges of the set.
In general, full-array LED is considered a superior technology when it
comes to picture quality, but edge-lit sets have one major advantage:
depth. Edge-lit LED TVs can be much thinner than those lit with either
a full LED panel or traditional fluorescent (non-LED) backlights. For
that reason, most of the super-thin sets you see will be edge-lit. Shop
Abt's full line of LED TVs.
Front Screen Projectors
Projection TVs work similarly to the way that projectors in movie theaters
do. There is a projector that is mounted on the ceiling in front of a
projector screen. The image from the projector is then beamed onto a screen.
The better the screen, the better the image and resolution.
A painted, flat wall would work as well but a superior image would be
received when using a custom projector screen. A great benefit to owning
a front screen projection TV is its capability to create large pictures
and allows for easily customizable sizes. Shop
Abt's full line of Projectors.
Once you have decided on either a Plasma, LCD or LED TV you can get them
in various options, such as the following;
The newest kind of TV to hit the market. To watch movies and other programming
in 3D you will need a 3D TV as well as 3D glasses. These glasses are typically
sold separately and can get quite expensive. Right now, 3D content is
only available as Blu-ray movies. This means to experience 3D on your
3D TV you will not only need 3D glasses, but a 3D movie and a 3D Blu-ray
The way it works is when we see images, our left and right eyes merge
it into one. To re-create that in high-def, TVs must refresh the picture
at least 120 times a second with alternating frames for the left and right
eye, which tricks your brain into seeing only one image. Most new TVs
are fast enough to do this, but to be 3-D-capable, TVs must include a
converter chip and software to break down the signal and separate the
left and right images.
The viewer then wears what are called, active-shutter glasses, which
rapidly block one eye at a time so that each eye sees only the frame meant
for it. The glasses contain two small, black-and-clear LCD lenses that
darken or lighten when a radio or infrared pulse from the TV (or an add-on
emitter) signals that the image is changing. 3D TV content looks great
but is currently not plentiful and additional glasses can cost up to a
couple hundred dollars extra. Shop
Abt's full line of 3D TVs.
TV Combos are an excellent selection of TVs for anyone that is looking
to be multi-functional while saving space, such as in a kitchen or dorm
room. TV combos are flat panel TVs that also play DVD movies with their
built-in player. Typically the DVD drive is located on the side of the
unit and works as a slide-in/slide-out function to play your favorite
movies without the need for an additional DVD player. Shop
Abt's full line of TV Combos.