Saturday, January 19, 2008
LCD vs. DLP TVs
Two new technologies in the world of TV, DLP and LCD, are now in a tight competition. Not long ago, everyone was talking about Plasma and LCD - which one would win? It became clear to most that Plasma, with its short lifespan of just 3-4 years, was simply not the best choice. In fact, the LCD screen has several benefits over plasma. For instance, LCD screens run much cooler than the average plasma TV, and thus require less power to operate. Plasma TVs run so hot, in fact, that they require a fan to cool them down â" which can be noisy. In addition, plasma screens have a tendency to degrade over time, slowly becoming dimmer. LCD screens, on the other hand, run relatively cool, and do not degrade over time. Some Plasma owners, who have used their TVs for a few years now, have already witnessed the dimming of their screens. Also, LCD screens tend to have overall better picture quality, and are typically 10 to 15 percent lighter than plasma. Now the choice is mainly between LCD and DLP - two distinct technologies that offer slight differences in display, price, and performance. If you are looking to buy a new flatscreen TV this year, you are probably wondering which one is right for you. What are DLP, LCD TV Screens? DLP stands for Digital Light Processing, while LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display. DLP technology, developed by Texas Instruments, uses a DMD, or Digital Micromirror Device, contructed of 1.3 million microscopic mirrors. Each of these mirrors is essentially a single pixel. When a digital signal enters the DLP system, each mirror is either activated or not, resulting in tapestry of mirrors tilting either towards the DLP light source or away. This process produces different levels of light and dark reflected by each individual mirror. The colors are produced when the DLP light sources run through a red, green, and blue color filter on a moving wheel. Depending on the lightness/ darkness of each mirror, the colors come in an enormous amount of shades, producing vivid color images. LCD screens are made of several polarized glass panels, between which are liquid crystal molecules. An electric current is run through the crystal molecules, changing their position in respect to the glass. As light passes through the molecules, these changes in angle result in different lightness/ darkness patterns that produce images on the screen. There are usually three polarized glass panels, one with red pixels, blue, and green. This system also produced very accurate, vivid images, but angle is important. You may notice that the best colors in an LCD display are seen straight-on. Is DLP, LCD TV Screens better than the other? Simply put, that is a difficult question to answer. Unlike Plasma TV screens DLP and LCD last much are longer, and are considered to both have superior image quality. LCD screens tend to have slightly better contrast, with a larger range of black and white color shades. DLP, however, still has faster refresh rates than LCD (although LCD has been vastly improved in this area over the last two years). This can have implications if you are really into high-action motion (sports, action movies), because movement may seem a little blurred with LCD at times. Also, you ll want to remember that in order for you to get the best color out of your LCD, you have to sit right in front of it. LCD TVs also have a slightly shorter lifespan than DLPs, with only 45,000 to 60,000 hours compared to 75,000 hours or more. As far as price goes, LCD and DLP are still more expensive than Plasma, but like all things in time, their price has been coming down. And right now, DLP is slightly more expensive than LCD, but not by much. DLP, in our eyes, is the best investment, at least for the next few years. Click here for popular DLP TV units and prices. Bradley James is a senior editor at SciNet.cc , a website containing many helpful consumer electronics review articles. For more information on DLP and LCD TV technology, please visit our DLP vs LCD Tvs webpage .