Monday, December 03, 2007
HDTV has gotten a lot of interest among home entertainment enthusiasts and normal people alike, and it's really no wonder. After all, who could not be excited about bringing all of the best parts of the commercial movie theater experience into their own homes. The HDTV experience includes the same wide screen format that most major motion pictures are filmed in, a higher resolution picture than standard definition televisions are capable of providing, and the theater quality sound format of Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound.
Of course, the technology that goes into making HDTV sets is also really fascinating. After all, how often do you get to buy something called a plasma screen TV or a technology called digital light processing.
While HDTV sets use a variety of very different technologies to provide you with a large, high quality picture, there are a number of things that all of the technologies have in common. For example, they all have to be able to create pictures with extremely high resolutions which means being able to cram lots of pixels onto the TV screen. The more pixels are used, the higher the resolution of the picture. Some HDTV sets are capable of creating pictures with resolutions as high as 1080p, while other HDTV sets barely qualify as high definition by only being able to render pictures with resolutions of 720p.
Plasma screen HDTV's are the ones that probably get the most attention because of the fact that they combine a brilliant variety of colors with a really cool sounding name. Plasma screens are made up of numerous pockets of gas- one pocket of gas for each pixel- and when an electrical current is applied to a pocket of gas, the pocket of gas glows. The color and intensity with which the gas pocket glows is determined by the voltage and amperage of the electrical current that's applied to it. The fact that plasma screens have a reputation for very high contrast comes from the fact that a total absence of electrical current produces a total absence of light and color for a very deep black.
Despite their reputation for providing a great picture and the appeal of their name, plasma screens are probably the least suitable for most people's purposes. For one thing, they aren't very versatile when it comes to looking good in a variety of lighting conditions- they just don't glow brightly enough to look good in rooms with high levels of light and they lose their brightness with time. Most models are also inappropriate for use at higher altitudes because they'll emit an annoying humming sound at elevations above six thousand feet. To top things off, plasma screen HDTV's are also energy hogs.
LCD screens don't sound as cool, but they are better for a greater variety of uses. They use less energy then many other technologies and they are bright enough to be used in a variety of lighting conditions, plus their brightness doesn't fade over time. LCD screens have the disadvantages of not being able to display very deep black and blurring while displaying objects that move fast on their screens. Of course, it's worth taking into account that both of these problems are more traditional problems than current problems as they've both been minimized over the years through more advanced application of technology.
Of course these are the two most popular HDTV display technologies, but there are lots of other exciting technologies to explore as well.