TV technology has come a long way over the years. You buy one and then a few years later, the tech has been updated again to uplift your viewing experience. That’s all well and good, but it can be annoying to fork out a lot of money only for the tech to quickly move on. Such is the way of TVs.
While manufacturers are always improving TV technology, that just means that when the time does come to upgrade, you can really improve how you watch TV, movies, and play games.
You’ll no doubt have heard all the acronyms from LCD to OLED, and as tech improves, more of them enter the TV arena. The trouble is that this can make it tricky to decide what format is best for you. Not to worry though, because this guide lays all the acronyms out for you so you can finally get up to speed with the latest technical terms and buy the perfect TV for your home.
Old TV Tech
It all started with the now ancient Cathode Ray Tube (CRT). That big, bulky box that weighed a ton. It housed a projector gun which would fire electrons onto a screen to excite the particles to produce an image. It served us for many years but it wasn’t to last as demands for better TVs soared.
In the early 2000s, screens that were commonly used in laptops made their way into TVs for a sharper image. This was the Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) which comprised a flat panel with lots of little segments filled with liquid crystals. Colour and transparency of these blocks is altered by alternating the current. An external light source then passes through to create an image on the screen.
Next up was plasma that many argue is a vast improvement on the LCD. Plasma screens are made up of two glass sheets where a mixture of gases are sealed in plasma between them. Then all you need is a little electricity to allow the gases to react and illuminate the pixels. Colours and contrast look great on large screens and can even work out cheaper too.
Then came along the Light-Emitting Diode TV (LED). It uses the same technology as LCD, but rather than being backlit by a fluorescent bulb, it uses an array of LEDs instead. Because LEDs are smaller and more efficient at producing light, it can be focused on specific areas to produce improved light and dark contrast and color. It helps make TVs much thinner too.
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New TV Tech
It’s interesting to see how exactly your TV produces its image, and where it all started from. While the old tech has served us well, it has been built upon to become even better than before. And LED technology is still leading the way. It’s simply been improved upon to produce Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) and Quantum Light-Emitting Diode (QLED) displays.
OLED – Organic Light-Emitting Diode
The set-up is basically the same as the standard LED display, but the difference lies in the organic compound. This may be carbon, polymers, or small molecules between two electrodes that respond to electricity, to turn individual pixels on and off. The result is a greater contrast ratio, color quality, and deeper blacks.
In addition to this, the display refresh rates can reach 100,000Hz, meaning that images could theoretically transition a thousand times faster than an LCD display could. What’s more, OLED can be printed on various substrates like plastic, making its applications highly versatile, cheap, and efficient.
QLED – Quantum Light-Emitting Diode
The latest to hit the market are QLED TVs. This uses nanoparticles called quantum dots, which are even smaller so light can be focused on tighter areas of the display. While this produces improved brightness and color ranges, the contrast ratios don’t yet match up to OLED. However, QLED TVs are more affordable, they last longer, and can be used on larger screens.
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What About Resolution?
The resolution of your TV is determined by the number of vertical and horizontal pixels on the display. As you can imagine, the more pixels available, the clearer the images and the higher the resolution is. While 720p (a million pixels) TVs still exist, they most likely won’t for much longer as demand for higher resolution continues to grow. So instead, we’ll focus on 1080p and above.
4K TVs are the latest trend as the picture quality is fantastic. Boasting 3840 x 2160 pixels, images appear super crisp and detailed, making it perfect for movies, streaming, and gaming at the highest level.
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Now that most streaming services host 4K content, Blu-rays can support 4K, and the latest consoles perform even better on 4K, the trend is set and growing. Most 4K TVs nowadays also include High Dynamic Range (HDR) technology which produces better colors and contrasts, resulting in brighter whites and deeper blacks. This makes images appear much more realistic than older formats.
What’s the Next Step in TV Tech?
You guessed it – 8K resolution. This doubling of pixels will continue as displays become even better than their predecessors. And 8K is a stunning 16 times the resolution of Full HD! 8K TVs are already available but will be very expensive. For now though, stick with 4K as there’s a wide range of top-quality, inexpensive sets available.
So, What Type of TV Should You Get?
It’s interesting to see how far TV technology has come. But even more interesting, where it’s going. It’s likely that most people these days own at least a Full HD TV (1080p), but they’re fast becoming outdated. Now that content is being produced at 4K and looks incredible, it’s the perfect time to jump on the 4K train.
So whether you’re into watching movies in almost cinema quality or playing the latest games in impressive detail, a 4K TV will certainly up the experience. Just bear in mind that not all 4K TVs are alike, and other features will affect their performance. You can find the latest reviews on these in the other articles to help you make your decision. Other than that, good luck in finding your 4K TV!