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The Pros and Cons of TV Technologies: LCD, DLP, CRT and Plasma

Since the first sparks of TV invention and electrons occurred in Philo T. Farnsworth’s Hollywood apartment back in 1927, the television has undergone space-age advancements in technology. Gone are the days of black-and-white screens, rabbit ears and, most recently, analog TV signals. Today, most households are watching TV on one of four television sets: LCD, DLP, CRT or Plasma, and each one offers its own set of pros and cons.

Although plasma screens were first developed back in 1964, it wasn’t until the 21st century came around that their popularity increased and their cost decreased. The plasma TV has earned the title as the world’s first flat-screen TV available to the public, and this has given these TVs an edge in the market. In fact, most plasma televisions sets are 4” or thinner, which makes them ideal for a TV lift cabinet. It was Pioneer that made the first flat-screen for the public audience. And consumers continue to choose plasma TVs because they can display fast action unlike any other television, which is a must for HD sports and action films. They don’t “ghost” images and offer the most vivid colors and deepest blacks. However, they use more energy than an LCD screen and are subject to “burn-in” if a still image is left on the screen for too long. They are also very heavy and fragile, making them difficult to move and install.

LCD TVs are rising in popularity because they are becoming thinner, in relation to plasma screens, and yet bigger in screen size. LCD TVs started as a technology for wristwatches and calculators, but their usefulness in the TV market is still being uncovered. LCD TVs have no risk of burn-in and are light, making mounting on a pop-up TV cabinet a breeze. However, they tend to be more expensive, have a narrow viewing angle and a lower contrast ratio than plasma screens.

DLP TVs were first developed in 1987 by Texas Instruments, but they never received the attention that LCD screens and plasma TVs have achieved. DLP screens use electronic chips that direct tiny mirrors to display images. They measure in thickness somewhere between a flat-panel and traditional TV, but they are more cost-effective than a flat-screen and have no risk of burn-in. They can also last over 80,000 hours. However, sometimes these sets produce a rainbow viewing effect and cannot be mounted on a wall.

CRT televisions have long been the “standard” in TVs. Their technology first existed in the late 1700s, and today nearly every household has at least one CRT TV. They are extremely reliable, but their only downfall is their size. They take up precious floor space and are very heavy. A 34-inch CRT can weigh as much as 200 pounds! And they are certainly not suitable for a TV lift cabinet or wall-mounting.

It’s clear that TVs have come a long way in 90 years, but even clearer is that they have no intention in slowing down in terms of technological advancements.

Samsung TV Apps Reach One Million Downloads

Samsung Apps

Samsung Apps, courtesy Samsung

In early December, Samsung hit a remarkable milestone with its apps marketplace on its HDTVs. Since they became available to consumers in March 2010, one million applications have been downloaded. And while there are not nearly the number of apps available as there are for the iPhone (134k+) or Android (100k+), reaching one million downloads for only 200 available Samsung apps means that sales are strong of Samsung HDTVs and that users are liking what they find.

According to Samsung, the most frequently downloaded apps include Hulu Plus, ESPN Next Level, CinemaNow and Texas Holdem. Other popular apps include MLB.TV, Vudu and Netflix. More than half of Samsung’s 2010 line of HDTVs are app-capable, and company resources say they expect more than 6.5 million app-capable units be sold before the end of the year. And by 2012 that number could grow to 20 million.

Samsung’s major competitor in the smart TV market is Vizio, which also offers its own line of app-capable TVs and line of apps. Vizio is the leader in LCD TVs, holding 19.9 percent of the market by the end of the third quarter. Samsung, however, is a close second, controlling 17.7 percent market share. However, Samsung is really growing in terms of number of TV units sold in the U.S. because its line of plasma TVs are doing so well. Samsung plasma TVs represent 19.3 percent market share, which beats out Vizio’s 17 percent market share.

While these two companies continue to battle it out in percentage points, it can only mean one thing for consumers – good deals on TVs getting better. And app producers will only be creating more enticing and useful apps for both manufacturers.

No matter which TV manufacturer you choose to side with, Samsung or Vizio, your LCD TV or plasma TV will look amazing in an ImportAdvantage TV lift cabinet, which is the “smartest” piece of home furniture to ever house a smart TV. Imagine, with the touch of a button your TV will quietly rise from a handcrafted TV lift cabinet and be ready to download and install all the latest apps on the market.

Are Some Flat-Screen TVs More Fragile than Others?

Just got a new flat-screen TV, or thinking about getting one, and want to protect your investment? Do you know how fragile the screen is? Well, the answer is that it depends on what kind of television you have.

In the world of flat-screen TVs, LCD and plasma sets are the two types currently being produced (and either will fit into a TV lift cabinet). But as far as fragility is concerned, one is definitely more fragile than the other. Plasma TVs are much heavier than LCD TVs, primarily due to the extra glass screen and components, and this heaviness contributes to it being more fragile than an LCD. However, a heavier TV could also make it harder to tip over.

LCD TVs, being lighter, means they can also be made thinner than a plasma screen, and many LCD TVs are commercially available as thin as 2” thick. A thin Plasma TV is about 3” thick.

While a discussion of fragility and TVs does little good if you’re planning on mounting and storing your TV in a TV lift cabinet, especially since the TV is attached directly to the TV lift and is virtually impossible to tip over. Also, the smooth rack and pinion lift system that is standard in the Uplift TV lifts means the mounted TV experiences no shaking or rattling when it’s lifted out of and lowered into a pop-up TV cabinet.

However, the main reason you should be aware of how fragile your flat-screen TV might be is to know that if you order your TV online and have it shipped, you may experience some increased costs getting a plasma TV to your home. In most cases, it’s recommended to have it shipped overnight. Also, if you buy a plasma screen at a local store, you should prepare to get your new investment home as quickly and smoothly as possible. Even one pothole could damage your plasma set. The plasma TV screen is really two glass screens with a layer of light-producing cells between them that react to an electrical charge, and any damage to either glass screen or the cells will make your TV useless.

So while it doesn’t matter how fragile your TV is if you keep it in a TV lift cabinet, you should use caution when purchasing and mounting your TV in your home.

See the Light: Which TV Works Best for Bright Rooms

If you are shopping for a new TV this holiday season, especially a flat-screen to fit in your TV lift cabinet, and you have a naturally bright living area or den, it is important to know which kind of television works best for rooms with lots of light.

Between LCD TVs and Plasma screens, both will provide outstanding picture quality and major advances in technology, such as app-capable systems and 3D-viewing. However, each TV will give you entirely different results based on their environment and viewing angle.

If you plan on viewing your TV from an angle, an LCD screen is not the right choice, as the LCD screen uses backlight and pixels, which open and close like a shutter. The further you move to the side of this “shutter” the greater the variations in picture brightness across the screen.

Plasma screens are self-lighting, which means they contain two transparent glass panels with a thin layer of pixels between them. Each pixel contains three gas-filled cells – one for red, green and blue colors – and a grid applies an electric current to each cell causing them to ionize. This ionized gas (plasma) emits UV rays that glow in the desired color. And this translates into a screen that can be viewed from nearly any angle since there is no “shutter” effect, and it makes the plasma screen better suited for displaying dark colors in dark rooms.

LCD TV screen are much brighter, in general, and therefore better suited to brighter rooms. Additionally, they have less reflective screens than plasma TVs, which means less chance of reflecting the light from a lamp or window. As a viewer in a bright room, our pupils are smaller than they would be in a dark room, limiting our ability to discern finer shades of light. It’s why we can see a lit candle much better in a dark room than if it was outside at midday.

Another bonus to LCD screens is that they consume much less energy than plasma screens. This can be a benefit for anyone who prefers to minimize the use of overhead lights and lamps for the purpose of saving energy and instead open windows and draw back curtains to maximize natural light.

So as you shop around for your next TV, it is certainly worth understanding how much ambient light will be present in your viewing room. You wouldn’t want to invest in the latest and greatest TV and not be able to see it well at home.

Flat-Panel TV Choices: Plasma or LCD for Me?

Can’t decipher all the jargon you find when shopping for a new flat-panel TV? Outlined here are a few pointers to help you decide if a plasma TV or an LCD TV is right for you and your room.

Plasma TVs are known for their warm colors and deep blacks. They excel in rooms with multiple viewers, as people can still see the picture clearly if they are sitting off-axis, or off to the side instead of directly in front of the screen. Plasma flat-screen televisions also work well when the room doesn’t allow much direct light on the TV screen, which means not placing it on an opposite wall to a big picture window unless you have heavy drapes that are capable of blocking out most of the light. Plasma TVs can also be found in large to very large screen sizes, over 42”.

LCD flat-panel TVs are great for smaller screens, which are less than 42”. If you will be watching television in a relatively bright room or mostly during the daytime, an LCD TV might be best for you. Also, LCD TVs usually consume less electricity than plasma TVs of the same size.

Before you head out to purchase your LCD or plasma flat-screen TV, be sure to view and print out our Measurement Guide so you’ll know that whatever you bring home will work with the TV lift cabinet that you want. ImportAdvantage offers TV lift cabinets both for small screens (Notting Hill XS) or large screens (Banyan Creek XL).

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