Flat Panel Displays - Beyond Plasma

Written by Steve Faber

The term set-top box will become something of a misnomer inrepparttar near future, as most displays will become too thin to allow a box to placed on top of them. Asrepparttar 149927 price of plasma & LCD displays has plummeted and their image quality has improved, they are popping up in homes everywhere.

Although they arerepparttar 149928 darlings ofrepparttar 149929 media andrepparttar 149930 generic for flat panel display inrepparttar 149931 minds of many, plasmas are about to be in a serious fight with other technologies forrepparttar 149932 flat panel crown.

LCD displays, seen onrepparttar 149933 desktop for years as computer monitors, and commonplace in smaller flat panel TVs, are finally increasing in size torepparttar 149934 point they are becoming a rival to plasmas inrepparttar 149935 42" – 50” size range. Picture quality is similar to plasmas; however LCDs are immune torepparttar 149936 burn-in that can affect plasma displays. This burn-in occurs when plasma units are used to display static images such as video game screens and stock or sports tickers.

Plasmas generally have an edge inrepparttar 149937 ability to produce deeper blacks and more saturated colors than LCDs. Plasmas are also better at producing full motion video than LCDs because ofrepparttar 149938 response time ofrepparttar 149939 LCD panels, although this difference is disappearing.

LCD TVs are a bit more expensive than plasmas at 42" and larger sizes, but they should last a while longer. Plasma displays should last 20,000 – 25,000 hours and LCDs should give 30,000+ hours of useful life. However,repparttar 149940 latest generation of plasma displays from NEC is claimed to have a 60,000 hour life. If that is an industry trend,repparttar 149941 traditional lifespan advantage held by LCDs may soon disappear.

Currently Sony has a 42", NEC a 40", Sharp a 45", and Samsung a 40" LCD TV or display. Samsung also hasrepparttar 149942 big one, a 46" that started shipping in early September of 2004. The Samsung 46" wasrepparttar 149943 first consumer LCD video display to have a 1080 line native resolution. This allows it to display 1080p native when that format arrives for HDTV.

Other technologies are onrepparttar 149944 horizon as well. One that has shown great promise is OLED, for Organic Light Emitting Diode. Developed by Kodak and Pioneer, this technology has been used for a few years in car stereo and cell phone displays. It's just about ready for prime time. Philips has shown a 13" unit, Samsung a 17", and Seiko-Epson has shown a 40" prototype.

OLED’s advantages are many. It actually emits it’s own light, so it requires no backlight and has better contrast than a traditional LCD. OLED displays have a wide viewing angle like a plasma display. Power usage is very low, less than 1/2 that of a traditional LCD display. At around 2mm deep, OLEDs are much thinner than either a plasma or LCD.

Home Theater Control – It's The Remote, Stupid!

Written by Steve Faber

It’srepparttar one piece of equipment that can really make or break your home theater system;repparttar 149883 remote control. It’s no good to haverepparttar 149884 latest and greatest gear and world’s biggest DVD collection if you can’t figure out how to use anything. True home theater nirvana is a fantastic performing system anyone can use with a single button press.

Many of today’s home theater receivers and surround processors come with a “smart” remote control. Some of these are actually pretty good too. B&K and Denon come to mind. If you know what you are doing, you can get one of these babies programmed to orchestrate your entire system pretty well. If you haven’trepparttar 149885 time or inclination for such a project yourself, hire a professional installer to bring everything together for you. A great place to start is CEDIA (Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association). They have member firms in every state, and many foreign countries, that are experts in making complex home theaters easy to use.

Remote controls come in several flavors. The one most people are familiar with comes with almost any electronic component you buy these days. Forrepparttar 149886 most part it does a pretty good job at makingrepparttar 149887 particular component do what you want. Some of these even let you control other components, especially if they are fromrepparttar 149888 same manufacturer. This way, for example, you can use your TV remote to also control your VCR or DVD player.

The next rung uprepparttar 149889 remote control ladder isrepparttar 149890 so called “smart remote”. This type of remote is able to control multiple pieces of equipment from different manufacturers. Some can control up to 8 or 10 different components. They are usually set to control each piece of equipment by entering a 3 or 4 digit code. Some of these units will learn control functions from other remote controls. This is helpful ifrepparttar 149891 unit you need to control is not in your remote control’s internal database. You usually accomplishrepparttar 149892 learning by entering a “learn” mode onrepparttar 149893 smart remote, pointingrepparttar 149894 “teaching” remote atrepparttar 149895 smart remote and pressingrepparttar 149896 desired button. Viola! Your smart remote has learnedrepparttar 149897 command fromrepparttar 149898 original remote control.

If you want things even easier than using just one remote to control everything, you need a remote that does macros. These are command sequences initiated by pressing one button. For example, you want to watch a DVD. Typically you would have to turn on your TV, DVD player and surround receiver. Then you would have to switch your TV torepparttar 149899 component input and your receiver torepparttar 149900 DVD input. With a macro capable remote, this sequence is programmed intorepparttar 149901 remote. The remote then plays back allrepparttar 149902 commands inrepparttar 149903 appropriate order so you don’t have to.

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