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The Evolution of the Flat Screen TV

 History of Flat Screen TV

Believe it or not, the history of flat screen TV started way back in 1964 by scientists at the University of Illinois. They were the first ones to discover plasma technology. They wanted a different flat screen monitor that had a better picture quality. Monitors at that time were just television sets with a picture that was not very good. Just think about the huge innovations that have occurred in the flat screen tv since that time!

A flat screen TV has many great factors that give it a supreme edge over the bulkier cathode ray televisions of the past. Besides a sharper image and better sound quality, there is also the fact that they are very slim and in some cases much lighter. If you compare prices from today’s plasma and LCD televisions, then you will find that the prices are very affordable considering the technology you are receiving.

Television has come so far from its humble beginnings. It was a novelty to possess something that could transmit a program from the other side of the country. Sure the image was grainy and in black and white, but it was still an item that only the wealthy possessed. Eventually it became more affordable. The television evolved into color and bigger screen sizes. Then it became much larger; as tall as the average woman. Too bad the image was distorted and lost its vibrant colors. LCD and plasma solved those dilemmas by changing from a cathode-ray to the use of plasma.

Plasma VS LED

Considering a flat-panel TV? The latest LED-LCD and plasma TVs deliver outstanding picture quality, and both display technologies get a little better every year. Each type has a different set of strengths that make it more suitable for certain viewing situations.

If you poke around the Internet you'll find a ton of information (and some misinformation) about today's flat-panel TVs. The chart below provides a quick comparison of plasma and LED LCD.

Plasma 42"-65" Excellent Very Good to Excellent Excellent Excellent Good
LED-LCD 19"-84" Good to Very Good Very Good to Excellent Good to Excellent Excellent Excellent


  • Pros: excellent contrast and black levels; effortless motion; uniform illumination over the entire screen area, good picture depth; often priced lower than LED-LCD models with similar screen size and features
  • Cons: limited screen sizes: 42"-65"; some models not as bright as most LED-LCD TVs; not as energy-efficient as LED-LCDs and typically generate more heat; a plasma panel is usually a bit heavier and thicker than an LED-LCD panel


  • Pros: models with advanced local dimming backlights can have black levels rivaling plasma; LED-LCD panels are thin and lightweight — especially models with edge-lit backlights; this is the most energy-efficient display technology

  • Cons: picture may look a bit flat and less "filmlike" than plasmas; when viewed off-axis the picture may lose some contrast and color

Picture contrast

Picture contrast is the difference between the brightest whites and the deepest blacks a TV can produce. It's an important performance spec — many experts consider it to be the most important. But because TV makers don't all measure contrast the same way, it can be difficult for shoppers to make meaningful comparisons between different TV brands. Contrast ratio specs have become so inflated in recent years that they're mostly meaningless, so we no longer list them.

A plasma TV might be for you if:

  • You like rich, warm colors and deep black levels.
  • You do most of your viewing with low or modest room lighting.
  • You or others will be sitting off-axis when watching TV or movies.
  • You want the smoothest, most natural motion with fast on-screen action, like sports or video games.

An LED-LCD TV might be for you if:

  • You want an ultra-thin TV — LCD TVs, especially LED-backlit models, tend to be thinner than plasmas.
  • You do a lot of daytime viewing in a room with windows lacking blinds, curtains or drapes. An LED-LCD's bright picture will still look crisp and colorful in bright light; some LCD screens also resist glare.
  • Low power consumption is a priority — LCD TVs are more energy efficient than plasma models with the same screen size.


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