Shopping for the perfect TV can easily become a frustrating experience. In the old days (well, not that old) we had one choice: CRT. Now TVs come in a variety of technologies, and even within each technology there are some slight, but important, variations. We’ll guide you through the basics to help make the decision process easier, then you can take that knowledge to your local audio/video dealer to pick the best TV for your home.
When Sharp first popularized the flat panel LCD TV, models were small, expensive and didn’t look that great compared to other popular display technologies. A lot has changed in that time. Today’s LCD TVs come in any home theater size, and feature the best performance characteristics to meet a videophile’s standards.
LCDs, which work by allowing light to pass through a liquid crystal encased in a cell, require a light source. Traditionally this was done with a type of fluorescent light called a CCFL. CCFL TVs had the disadvantage of allowing a lot of light to leak around the cells, producing a duller image with poor contrast. Many newer TVs now use light emitting diodes or LEDs to produce the light. LED-based LCD TVs use a lot less energy than CCFL TVs, they can be brighter, show more accurate colors and, when combined with a local dimming technology, can have better contrast. LED-based models can also be extremely thin, sometimes less than an inch thick.
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