Showing posts with label LCD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LCD. Show all posts

Jul 15, 2016

TVs and Nits

Many new TVs come with a nit rating, such as the new Samsung HDR (High Dynamic Range) TV, which has 1,000 nits. Computer LCD screens emit up to around 300 nits. The term nit is believed to come from the Latin word nitere, to shine.

A nit is defined as a unit of light intensity and one nit is equal to one candela per square meter. A candela is the amount of light produced by one candle. Bottom line for TV watching, more nits equals brighter brights and darker blacks.

Jan 22, 2016

Screen Resolution Evolution

Now that the 2016 Consumer Electronic Show has ended, it seems appropriate to recap where we are with TVs and how we got here.

First, 3D TV is dead. Curved screens remain a hard sell. 4K TV is looking at a short life span as it is already being usurped by 8K TV. 8K may suffer the same fate unless TV and movie producers begin to crank out content capable of utilizing the new standards. In times past, we always waited for hardware to catch up to our needs, now we are waiting for content to catch up to hardware.

Sharp released its first 8K TV in 2015. The 85-inch LV-85001 costs $133,000. Samsung showed its 110-inch 8K TV in January, 2016. It also announced that a 11K TV is being developed for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. LG also showed off a 98-inch 8K TV in January, 2016. All of this advancement comes amid a current dearth of 4K content. These advances may still prove to be more resilient than the 3D revolution that never happened.

Advances in hardware and software continue to outrun battery capacity and bandwidth speed. Although bandwidth is less of an issue in Europe and other countries as the US continues to lag, mostly due to politics, not capability.

How we began the race comes from early television. For the first half-century of television, resolution was measured in lines per screen rather than pixels. TV resolution in the 1930s and 1940s had 240 to 819 lines per screen, improving upon previous resolutions. The new resolution used a display method known as progressive scanning, where each line of an image is displayed in sequence, in contrast to the traditional analog method where first odd and then even lines are drawn alternately.

In 1953, analog color TV had 525 lines, establishing the NTSC color standard. Europe followed up in the 1960s by introducing the 625-line standards. However, bandwidth barriers limited widespread adoption of analog HDTV.

In 1977, the Apple II introduced color CRT display to home computers by adapting the NTSC color signal. The Apple II achieved a resolution of 280 pixels horizontally by 192 pixels vertically. By the 1980s, home computer makers began using pixels (picture elements) as a unit of measure.

IBM introduced a VGA standard display of 640x480 in 1987. Since then, demand for digital videos and video games has driven resolution to greater and greater density. Desktop monitors are now a standard resolution of 2560x1600. Mobile devices range lower from 240x320 for the smallest devices.

During the 1990s, plasma TVs and LCD TVs moved toward thinner and lighter TVs. During 1996, digital was officially mandated by the US FCC as a new standard for future DTV/HDTV broadcasting. By 2006, LCDs became more popular due to better daytime viewing and lower prices. LCDs created colored images by selectively blocking and filtering a white LED backlight rather than directly producing light.

HDTV uses a resolution of 1920x1080p, equivalent to 2,073,600 pixels per frame, and known as 1080p. The 4K Ultra HDTV uses 3840x2160p, known as 2160p. This amounts to four times the amount of pixels and twice the resolution of HDTV, hence 4K. The newer 8K increases this eight times to 7680x4320.

OLED improved color by directly producing colored light, allowing for greater contrast. OLED TVs are also extremely thin, measuring in fractions of an inch.

When the iPhone 4 was released, Steve Jobs claimed that the human eye cannot detect smartphone resolution beyond 300 pixels per inch (Apple's limit at the time). However, many others have proven the eye can actually detect at least 900 or greater PPI.

Incidentally, it is the relationship of HD, 4K, 8K, etc., to screen size that makes the difference. Phone screens are small, so HD, 4K, etc., are a waste, as our eyes cannot perceive the difference. Distance between our eyes and the screen is also a factor, that is why many TV manufacturers show the optimal distance for viewing.

As TV sets grow, it takes more pixels to see the same clarity of picture that are needed on a smaller screen. The arguments of not being able to tell the difference between HD, 4K, and 8K are relative to size and distance from the screen. However, 8K is likely beyond the average household to notice any perceptible difference vs. 4K.

Jan 16, 2015


There are a number of confusing TV terms being thrown around these days to catch our attention and drive us to toss out our relatively new flat screen TVs. I decided to decode a few of the terms so we can make an informed decision - and then rush out to buy something to get the 'first on the block' medal.

4K has about eight million pixels which equates to about four times more than a current 1080p TV. Think of your TV like a grid, with rows and columns. A full HD 1080p image is 1080 rows high and 1920 columns wide. A 4K image almost doubles both those numbers, so you could fit every pixel from your 1080p set onto one quarter of a 4K screen. Recent 4K TVs are the same thickness as a smart phone, less than two tenths of an inch thick.

Since 4K contains four times the information of High Definition (HD or FHD), someone came up with the name Ultra High Definition (UHD). The bad news is the Internet providers have not opened up the pipes enough, so many 4K users see a lag time (that frustrating spinning circle) when watching 4K content. Netflix and Amazon currently charge more for delivering 4K content.

Currently, 1080 resolution comes from the image height, while 4K (3840 x 2160) is derived from image width. If it was described the same way as now, 4K would be 2160p. Seems that was not enough of a difference to command the increased price so they changed the definition to make it seem better to the uninitiated.

8K (7680  x 4320) basically doubles the pixel height and width of 4K to about 32 million pixels. The 8K standard is currently for exhibitions and movie theaters. Since 4K will not become the norm for a few more years, 8K is many years away from the home market.

LED comes from Light Emitting Diode. LED TVs are really LCD TVs, but the difference is how the screen is lit. Traditional LCD TVs use florescent backlights, LED TVs use smaller, more energy-efficient LEDs. LED screens produce great color, but the brightness of the lights can also wash out blacks on the screen.

OLED or Organic Light Emitting Diodes have been around for years, but producing big screens using this technology has proven to be prohibitively expensive until lately. The OLED elements generate their own light so the technology is stunning, with vibrant colors, deep blacks, and bright whites.

3D TV continues to die a slow death, even though some manufacturers are still trying to convince us we need it. Think of 3D as Three Times Dead.

Bottom line, OLED is better than LED, 4K is amazing when you can see 4K content, both 4K and 8K are Ultra High Definition (UHD), both cost twice as much or more than HD, both require faster internet to be useful. Since there is little 4K and no 8K content, people who buy theses TVs are stuck explaining the picture deficiency and Ultra High Cost to guests. When content arrives, these TVs will be awesome and, by then, the price will be much more affordable. Last thing, when it comes to TVs, bigger is better, OLED is much better, 4K is awesome, but too expensive, for now.

Jun 7, 2013

Robot Grill Cleaner

Grillbot sits on your dirty grill and cleans it. Just press a button to set the amount of time you want it clean and place it on a hot or cold grill. A built in alarm tells you if the grill is too hot for the device. A built-in mini-LCD screen lets you to choose a light or deep clean.

Three motors power three wire brushes. The brushes should be good for one complete BBQ season and are replaceable. The Grillbot comes with a rechargeable battery pack, charger, AC adapter and a hanging storage case. Something to consider for Father's Day

Nov 16, 2012

Smart Credit Cards

Here is something coming to your wallet, a new MasterCard that has LCD screen and keyboard. The credit card with an LCD display and built-in keyboard has been launched in Singapore by MasterCard  The card will be available from January before being rolled out globally.

The card has touch-sensitive buttons and the ability to create a one-time password. Future versions of the card could display added information such as the remaining balance or display information such as loyalty or reward points or recent transaction history.

Last year, Visa announced a similar card with interactive functions. Smartphone manufacturers are hoping that enhanced credit cards will be quickly replaced by near-field communication feature that many smartphones already have.

Jan 10, 2012

TV Types

LG just announced a new TV that has a 55 inch screen, is a bit less than one quarter inch thick (less than the width of a pencil) and weighs about 16 pounds. OLED means Organic Light Emitting Diode. It is the newest technology for TVs. It produces a picture far brighter than anything on the market. OLED emits light as opposed to LCD TVs which reflect light. This means that they are not good for outdoor viewing, but the picture is truly eye-popping good. Watch for much bigger screens with OLED displays in malls and other places.

At the Consumer electronics show (CES), beginning this week, Samsung introduced an LED TV, which is .3 inch thick. LED is newer than many of the current flat screen TVs and is brighter. Think of it as better than LCD, but not as good as OLED.

Am sure there will be many more goodies at the show and I will let you know if there is any wizbang technology ready to hit the street. In the meantime, do not buy a new tablet, like the iPad until the new models come out, because it always drives the price of the old ones down. That is not always true for TVs, because dealers are already marking down last year's models to make room for the new ones. TVs are not susceptible to new features every few months like other technology and we usually keep them longer than a few years.

Last year I got rid of a 30-year-old TV and it cost me ten dollars to have it recycled. None of the new TVs will last a third of that time, but each new one will be more exciting to watch. Already in the labs is the next generation AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode) which claims to be viewable in direct sunlight.

3D TV is still a technology in search of an audience. It will not be ready for prime time until the producers make 3D content, we do not need to wear dorky glasses, and the quality gets better. Watch for sports to be among the first to adopt the technology. I am still waiting for glasses to replace the screen. They are almost ready for prime time and I hope to be first on my block to own a pair.

Jan 25, 2011

High Tech Glasses

Virginia-based PixelOptics takes that notion quite literally. It produces emPower or what it says are the world's first "electronic corrective eyeglasses" capable of replacing conventional progressive lenses and bifocals.

Hidden in the frames of the otherwise normal-looking glasses, are a microchip, micro-accelerometer and miniature batteries. Each lens has a transparent LCD layer that can electronically change its molecular structure, changing the focus only as needed. If you tilt your head down say to read a book or peek at an object up close, the accelerometer automatically detects the motion, sending a signal to the LCD that alters how light is refracted, change the prescription quietly and in, well, a blink of the eye. You can also put the glasses in manual mode.

I briefly donned the glasses to sample the effect, which worked, but of course I was not wearing a pair that matched my actual prescription.

So why would you choose these glasses compared to conventional progressive lenses? One answer: With ordinary progressives, you might be lying on a couch or bed and tilting your head up to watch TV, which would otherwise be a challenge if you're peering out of that portion of the lens that isn't meant for distance viewing. With emPower, you'd only summon a lens optimized for reading or closeups when you needed to.

PixelOptics has been teaming up with Panasonic Healthcare in Japan for about three years. A pair of glasses based on its technology will be available in the southeastern U.S. in March, the company says, for about $1,200 at retail or about a 30% premium compared with regular glasses. The price includes the cradle that charges the glasses up.