22. February 2016 · Comments Off on Tips for Buying a Cool TV · Categories: electronics · Tags: , , ,

A Short History of TV: The Magic of 3 Colors — RGB

TV has advanced together with our knowledge of how light can be generated. Since Scottish inventor John Logie Baird introduced the very first mechanical TV in 1925, marvelous advancements have been made to TV technology. But the foundation of color TV—the primary colors Red, Green and Blue (RGB)—is still the same as it was the first color transmissions were developed back in the 1930s and 1940s.

In fact, the emergence of the latest TV trend—thin, flat and sometimes curvy—started only about 10 years ago. In the history of TV, CRT TV dominated the market for a long period during the 20th century. It may be surprising that inside every cathode ray tube are electron guns. The TV functions when the electron guns fire three electron beams (one for each color) through a vacuum tube at a glass plate covered with a phosphorescent screen, causing the phosphors to emit light.

Despite being the dominant display technology for so long, CRT TVs have several limitations. Because the electron beams need to be the same length to all parts of the display, the screen curves away from the viewer, creating an uncomfortable surface for viewing. Additionally, a certain distance between the display and electron guns is essential, resulting in difficulty in making CRT TVs thin, and the glass screens were thick and heavy. As a result, CRT TVs have lost popularity as new display technologies arise.

TV has advanced together with our knowledge of how light can be generated. Since Scottish inventor John Logie Baird introduced the very first mechanical TV in 1925, marvelous advancements have been made to TV technology. But the foundation of color TV—the primary colors Red, Green and Blue (RGB)—is still the same as it was the first color transmissions were developed back in the 1930s and 1940s.

In fact, the emergence of the latest TV trend—thin, flat and sometimes curvy—started only about 10 years ago. In the history of TV, CRT TV dominated the market for a long period during the 20th century. It may be surprising that inside every cathode ray tube are electron guns. The TV functions when the electron guns fire three electron beams (one for each color) through a vacuum tube at a glass plate covered with a phosphorescent screen, causing the phosphors to emit light.

Despite being the dominant display technology for so long, CRT TVs have several limitations. Because the electron beams need to be the same length to all parts of the display, the screen curves away from the viewer, creating an uncomfortable surface for viewing. Additionally, a certain distance between the display and electron guns is essential, resulting in difficulty in making CRT TVs thin, and the glass screens were thick and heavy. As a result, CRT TVs have lost popularity as new display technologies arise.

The Rise of the Flat Screen
Beginning around the year 2000, the CRT era began to give way to lighter, flat screens. Before this time, it was difficult to imagine hanging a TV on the wall, but with PDPs and LCDs, wall-mounted TVs dramatically changed the interior of people’s homes.

The first alternative to CRTs to gain popularity was the PDP TV. As the name suggests, PDP uses plasma to generate light, making it thinner. Plasma is one of the four fundamental states of matter, but is not a solid, liquid or gas. It refers to the electrically neutral state when the number of positive and negative charged particles, or ions, is equal. The northern lights in the Arctic and lightning are two natural examples of plasma light. A PDP is made of two glass plates surrounding millions of phosphor-coated, gas-filled cells. When electric stimulation is produced, gas is discharged and light is emitted. Because PDPs use inert gas, there is little risk of explosion from this unique chemical reaction. There are two panes of glass, in front and behind, that protect from leaking gas. This makes PDP TVs slightly heavy, but safe.

PDPs were successful in making flat screen TVs more popular, due to a clear picture quality that was great for watching movies and sold at reasonable prices. Now, the number of PDP models is on the decline. PDPs use high voltage when discharging gas, resulting in high energy consumption and heat generation. A rather dark screen required additional power. Issues of longevity required even more voltage to generate a brighter picture. Limitations such as these made way for the next evolution in TV displays.

LCD displays addressed the disadvantages of PDPs, and have become the latest trend in TV technology. Almost 99 percent of TVs sold globally today are LCD-based TVs. Unlike PDPs and OLED TVs, which produce light on their own, LCD TVs use a backlight in the rear panel that passes through a color filter to produce a range of colors. The liquid crystal layer is located between the backlight and the color filter, blocking any color that must not go out.

Because LCD TVs use a separate backlight, the screens are brighter without sacrificing the lifespan of the TV. The human eye is more sensitive to brighter screens than darker screens, which is a major reason LCDs have become the most popular type of display today.

As for LED TVs, the explanation is fairly simple. They are simply LCD TVs that use small, long-lasting LEDs for backlight. It’s hard to believe that a fluorescent lamp is inside each display. Previously, LCD TVs used parts in the shape of fluorescent lamps for backlighting, such as cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL). But these days, most LCDs use LED backlights, so the terms are almost interchangeable.

OLED is a technology that emerged more recently in the TV market. It uses millions of RGB organic LED pixels to generate light without the need of a backlight, producing more precise and deep blacks and colors. OLEDs can also be made flexible and just a few millimeters thick.

Why then do OLED TVs make up just a little over 0.1 percent of the market eight years after launching?

RGB OLED is very useful technology for mobile devices and today is most commonly used in smartphones.But OLED TVs currently in the market use white OLED (WOLED), a deviation from the RGB OLED. OLED displays produce colors on their own without the need of a color filter, but a color filter still exists in WOLED TVs. Unlike LCD TVs that use LED as backlighting, OLED displays produce their own backlighting. At this stage, verification concerning lifespan and durability of RGB OLED screens for big TVs has not been completed.

LEDs to Lead the Future of TV
When consumers choose a TV, they consider elements such as picture quality, price, design and life span. Different display technologies have their own strengths, but the TV technology that is currently satisfying consumers the most is LED display technology. Market research groups agree, predicting that LED TVs will lead the market for some time. This is due to the manufacturers who are maximizing the strengths of LED TVs by overcoming the limitations of TV.

The price of early LED TVs was expensive, reaching thousands of dollars, but has since fallen significantly, and today screens larger than 50 inches can be purchased for less than $1,000. Today’s screens can be even thinner than 1 centimeter and are ever more flexible. In the TV market, Samsung Electronics has been the No. 1 leader for 10 years, and is continuing to lead the way in the curved LED TV market.

In terms of picture quality, the essence of TV, the progress of LED TVs has been spectacular. Along with the development of software like the picture quality engine, LED TVs use technology like wide color gamut (WCG), resulting in the production of the widest color range among existing displays, and offering a picture quality that is remarkably realistic.

Several other technologies have been hailed as the “future of TV”—3D, holograms, foldable TVs and more. But Samsung believes that the near future lies in combining LED TVs with Internet of Things (IoT), providing the highest picture quality and a comfortable viewing experience.

01. November 2015 · Comments Off on 5 Tips to Increase the Longevity of Your LED TV · Categories: electronics · Tags: , , ,

LED TVs provide beautiful and bright pictures, but they also come with a high cost investment. No one wants to spend thousands of dollars on a TV only to have to replace it in a few years. By understanding how their TV works, there are several tips and tricks buyers can use to help increase the longevity of an LED TV. Following these tips allows buyers to make a wise investment when purchasing these televisions.

LED LCD TVs
There are two types of LED televisions currently on the market right now. The one most people are familiar with is the LED LCD TV, which is often shortened to just LED TV. In truth, these are not pure LED TVs. They use an LCD screen that is enhanced with LED technology instead of the traditional fluorescent tubes used in normal LCD TVs. This allows the TV to be incredibly flat, usually only an inch or so thick. LED LCD TVs use either LED backlights, which are placed directly behind the screen, or LED lights around the edge. Both types have their advantages and disadvantages. Backlit LED LCD TVs can produce deeper blacks because the tiny lights are turned off, but because the light-to-pixel ratio is not the same, this can also cause a darkening effect on other areas of the screen. Edge-lit LED LCD TVs do not have this problem, but they also cannot reproduce the same deep black levels as backlit LEDs.

OLED TVs
Organic Light Emitting Diodes, or OLED, is the second type of LED TV and the only one that uses pure LED technology. Because of this, OLED TVs do not have the problems associated with either plasma or LCD TVs. Instead of using color filters like LCD, or UV light like plasmas, OLED TVs create the basic colors of red, blue, and green by transmitting electricity through different materials that create a glow. This results in incredibly thin TVs with high brightness and contrast levels. Because of this superior picture quality, OLED TVs are the most advanced thing to hit the TV market. Currently, OLED TVs tend to be on the smaller side, but as the technology catches up, the future will see bigger OLED TVs.

TV Lifespan
One of the questions that should be asked before purchasing a TV is how long the expected lifespan will be. Keep in mind that TV lifespan does not mean the TV will just die once it hits some magical number. Instead, lifespan refers to how bright the TV remains as it ages, compared to when it was new. Once a TV has diminished to half the level of its original brightness, it is considered to have reached the end of its lifespan. In other words, lifespan refers how dim a TV becomes before it is unwatchable. Of course, the truth is that all TVs dim with age. It was true of the old CFL tube TVs, and it is true of all the HDTVs that exist today. So how long does an LED TV last before it becomes unwatchable? Numbers vary depending on different manufacturer claims, but it is often estimated to be between 60,000 to 100,000 hours.

What Causes Dimness?
Why do LED TVs get dim over time? The lights simply wear out, much like an old light bulb will start to grow dim before it utterly dies. LED LCD TVs use white lights, which do not last as long as their color counterparts. This is because the white lights have to be exceptionally bright. Therefore, they will start to dim faster than the other components. Some OLED TVs use white lights, while others simply use RGB (red, green, blue) lights. In the case of OLED, blue lights always dim faster than red and green. Again, this is because the blue light is brighter than the other two. However, advances in technology have managed to bring blue LED lights up to speed with their other color counterparts. In fact, it was this leap forward that led to the creation of OLED TVs in the first place.

Protecting Longevity
Now that the basic difference between LED TVs has been explained, as well as the reasons behind the limits on TV lifespans, buyers should learn ways to help the TV last longer. Keep in mind that it is the brightness of the TV that must be protected. As long as the TV screen stays bright, it will continue to last. Once it starts to dim, its performance will suffer. Use these following tips to help keep the LED TV looking as bright as new.

Turn Off the TV When No One Is Around
This probably seems like common sense advice, but many people simply leave the TV running all day as background noise. While they are busy doing other things, the LED TV is busy conducting electricity through its lights. 60,000 hours might seem like a long time, but if a TV is left on as background noise for just 3 hours a day, that easily equals over 1,000 hours a year. Many people leave their TVs on for far longer than 3 hours a day without watching them, which only increases the number of hours being wasted. Turning the TV off when nobody is watching is probably the simplest way to increase the longevity of the LED TV. Not only will the TV last longer, the power bill will also be cheaper.

Adjust Brightness
Unless the house is as brightly lit as the showroom where the TV was purchased, there is no need to keep the LED TV at high brightness levels. Remember that the hours used to determine TV lifespan are based on average TV settings. Running a TV at high brightness levels can easily cut 60,000 hours into 30,000 hours, since the TV has to work twice as hard to keep up. Once the LED TV is purchased, adjust the brightness levels. Different manufacturers have separate brightness settings. “Film” or “home” settings work well enough on most TVs. For those who display brightness based on room, select either “dark room” or “medium room.” This small but highly effective adjustment will help keep the LED TV looking its best for years.

Adjust Contrast
Contrast is the control on the LED TV that measures the difference between the brightest and the darkest colors. The higher the contrast, the greater the power the TV uses. This, in turn, will decrease the television’s longevity. In the showroom, most LED TVs are set to “dynamic” or “vivid.” While either setting works best in brightly lit rooms and truly shows off the TV’s power, users should not leave the television on these settings at home. Doing so will burn through the LED lights faster. Instead, set the contrast to “standard” for the lowest power usage or to “movie” for enjoying HD broadcasts. Both of these settings use less energy than the “dynamic” and “vivid” options.

Use a Voltage Regulator
The LED TV is not the only electronic device in the house taking power. Every time the AC comes on or the furnace starts, electricity is used. This causes temporary power dips to other electronics, like the LED TV, which in turn affects the TV’s processes. In fact, one of the reasons why many LED TVs fail early in life is not because of their display technology, but instead because their power caps get busted from power surges or dips. Install a voltage regulator with a battery backup that can provide additional power during dips. Not only will it protect against hazards like power surges caused by lightning, it will help keep the TV operating efficiently no matter what other electronics are being used in the home.

Ventilate
The LED TV is going to be using a lot of power in the home. This power produces a lot of heat, which is removed by the ventilation system. However, many people install their LED TVs without giving them room to breathe. This affects the ventilation system, keeping the television hot. LED TVs do not last long in high heat conditions, as their internal parts start to be affected. Make sure that the TV has at least four inches to breathe around the ventilation vents. This means if it is a flat panel TV, but the vent is on the back of the television, do not install it against the wall. Instead, install it on a tabletop or entertainment center where the vent is four inches away from the wall.

Conclusion
LED TVs are expensive to buy, but the exceptional picture display is worth the cost. Remember, the picture is the reason why the television was bought in the first place. While these tips should be used as guidelines for increasing the longevity of the LED TV, do not sacrifice picture quality altogether. Adjusting the brightness and contrast are crucial for conserving power, but do not do so at the expense of the viewing experience. Set the television to levels that still look good while saving energy at the same time. With the exception of purchasing a voltage regulator, which should be done anyway to protect the TV from power surges, all of these tips are simple and free. Heading these suggestions will help any LED TV live for many years.