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Features to Look for in LCD Displays

Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) have fast become the go-to option for a majority of display applications. LCDs combine excellent longevity, low energy usage, superb color depth and affordability into a great package. These advantages have carried LCD to the top of the flat screen display sales charts. Like all display technologies, however, LCDs have seen significant changes in a matter of years. With this rapid pace of change, what are the attributes one should look for in a LCD?

The first factor to consider is your intended use. Will this be used as a HDTV, computer display or a business display? For HDTV applications, it is important to note that many LCDs have transcended display status. Embedded apps allow users to view content from an internet connection, if available. Features such as built-in webcams and voice command technology are available in HDTVs.

With the decision as to how "smart" the display should be, it's time to think about the technical specs. These minutiae can spell the difference between a display that works and one that wows. The following features should be used as a means to compare LCD displays in a fair and consistent manner:

• Resolution

• Contrast Ratio

• Response Time

Resolution is the basic measure of how many individual pixels any screen has. 1080p is the norm, with budget-conscious displays offering 720p. For this spec, the number represents how many lines the picture is broken into and the letter indicates whether the lines scan progressively or are interlaced. Generally, higher numbers are better as they split the picture into smaller lines and details can be sharper. Progressive scan will offer higher sharpness than interlaced.

Contrast ratio is a comparison of the brightest white the display can produce to the darkest black attainable. High contrast indicates a system can produce both very bright colors and deep blacks. This can be a significant factor in getting the wow factor out of your chosen display. Low contrast often looks faded or washed out, even on the first day of use.

Finally, response time indicates how quickly any given pixel on a LCD display can go from full brightness to dark and back. The faster this occurs, the lower the risk of an image smearing as objects move quickly across the screen. This was one of the leading disadvantages of early LCD displays. However, advances in reducing latency and increasing the rate at which the image is refreshed have effectively eliminated this effect in most applications.

With the rate of change in display technology, it is important to stay current on what is available. Using published specifications, one can review at a glance the contrast ratio, response time, and resolution of many offerings. With that information in hand, you'll be sure to get the best LCD display for your needs.

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