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  1. #1
    Forum Regular elapsed's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    Vancouver, BC

    The Future of TV

    The cathode-ray tube is on the way out. What will replace it? Hint: it won't be plasma

  2. #2
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    Jun 2002

    That's a terrific article. Anyone interested in the technical aspects of the various displays would do well to read it. It isn't free from controversy, however. I'm not so sure that the term "last television that you own" is a particularly meaningful way to assess the panoply of options--past or future--especially with the implication that the winner of that title will be something that doesn't wear out, or at least doesn't wear out for a "lifetime." Nothing in anyone's imagination will ever meet that qualification; it's a little like squaring the circle or discovering perpetual motion. After all, the venerable CRT, which has proven to be as mortal in the marketplace as it was in our homes for 50 years or so, still represents the professional standard for color, black level, greyscale, and gamma in a darkened room. And I do think that the technology that supplants it in studios will have a large role in consumer video regardless of how long the half-life of its light source turns out to be (unless it's way too short for reliable operation). It's also telling that this technology will win because of its ability to replicate, and improve on, the legacy of CRT. If it lasts as long as CRT, it will be lucky, but it will have to last long enough for technicians to meet or devise "permanent" standards with it.

    The delicacy of plasma's ability to withstand the ravages of time is a point well-taken, though I'm not sure that it's worthy of the alarm that the article gives it. The cheapest plasmas that skimp on circuitry are certainly the ones most at risk to die quickly, but the cheapest LCDs also cut corners (cheap LCoS doesn't exist--yet). Uninformed consumers are also to blame. Keeping a plasma's brightness and contrast settings low, not trying to overdrive it in a room with a lot of light, and being careful with gaming and frozen images will keep it healthy for a good long time, while maximizing its performance. As an owner of an early-generation, modest plasma for three years, I can testify that the reduction of contrast and brightness over time can be hard to detect (I didn't notice it).

    And how long in a quickly evolving digital age does anyone expect to keep a TV before it wears out its welcome either physically or culturally? To my mind, a TV that withstands the onslaught of technical advances and advertising for five years or so in this day and age has done its job. All of the fuss about displays that won't live for 10 years seems a bit disingenuous. At the very least, what would happen to the economy? I, for one, have never owned a TV for more than four years.

    To bring a long-winded post to a close, from what I've read, two technologies seem to be in line for CRT's professional mantle--LCoS and flat LCD. A fairly well-publicized study of LCoS showed it to be capable of CRT-like performance without many of the drawbacks, albeit expensively at this point. And Sharp is apparently poised to make a run at the professional market with a new line of LCDs that apparently perform like no LCD that we've seen as yet. Should be fun. Thanks for the article.
    Last edited by edtyct; 11-15-2006 at 11:30 AM.

  3. #3
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Good article, Elapsed. Thanks!

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