Saturday, September 27, 2008

What is TFT LCD?

TFT LCD (Thin Film Transistor Liquid Crystal Display) has a sandwich-like structure with liquid crystal filled between two glass plates.

tft lcd monitor structure 2

TFT Glass has as many TFTs as the number of pixels displayed, while a Color Filter Glass has color filter which generates color. Liquid crystals move according to the difference in voltage between the Color Filter Glass and the TFT Glass. The amount of light supplied by Back Light is determined by the amount of movement of the liquid crystals in such a way as to generate color.

TFT LCD - Electronic Aspects of LCD TVs and LCD Monitors

Electronic Aspects of AMLCDs

The most common liquid-crystal displays (LCDs) in use today rely on picture elements, or pixels, formed by liquid-crystal (LC) cells that change the polarization direction of light passing through them in response to an electrical voltage.

As the polarization direction changes, more or less of the light is able to pass through a polarizing layer on the face of the display. Change the voltage, and the amount of light is changed.

There are two ways to produce a liquid-crystal image with such cells: the segment driving method and the matrix driving method.
The segment driving method displays characters and pictures with cells defined by patterned electrodes.

The matrix driving method displays characters and pictures in sets of dots.

Direct vs. multiplex driving of LCD TVs.

direct vs. multiplex driving of lcd tv

The segment drive method is used for simple displays, such as those in calculators, while the dot-matrix drive method is used for high-resolution displays, such as those in portable computers and TFT monitors.

Two types of drive method are used for matrix displays. In the static, or direct, drive method, each pixel is individually wired to a driver. This is a simple driving method, but, as the number of pixels is increased, the wiring becomes very complex. An alternative method is the multiplex drive method, in which the pixels are arranged and wired in a matrix format.

To drive the pixels of a dot-matrix LCD, a voltage can be applied at the intersections of specific vertical signal electrodes and specific horizontal scanning electrodes. This method involves driving several pixels at the same time by time-division in a pulse drive. Therefore, it is also called a multiplex, or dynamic, drive method.

Passive and Active Matrix LCDs

There are two types of dot-matrix LCDs.

Passive-matrix vs. active-matrix driving of LCD Monitors.

passive-matrix vs. active-matrix driving of lcd monitors

In passive-matrix LCDs (PMLCDs) there are no switching devices, and each pixel is addressed for more than one frame time. The effective voltage applied to the LC must average the signal voltage pulses over several frame times, which results in a slow response time of greater than 150 msec and a reduction of the maximum contrast ratio. The addressing of a PMLCD also produces a kind of crosstalk that produces blurred images because non-selected pixels are driven through a secondary signal-voltage path. In active-matrix LCDs (AMLCDs), on the other hand, a switching device and a storage capacitor are integrated at the each cross point of the electrodes.

The active addressing removes the multiplexing limitations by incorporating an active switching element. In contrast to passive-matrix LCDs, AMLCDs have no inherent limitation in the number of scan lines, and they present fewer cross-talk issues. There are many kinds of AMLCD. For their integrated switching devices most use transistors made of deposited thin films, which are therefore called thin-film transistors (TFTs).

The most common semiconducting layer is made of amorphous silicon (a-Si).
a-Si TFTs are amenable to large-area fabrication using glass substrates in a low-temperature (300°C to 400°C) process.

An alternative TFT technology, polycrystalline silicon - or polysilicon or p-Si-is costly to produce and especially difficult to fabricate when manufacturing large-area displays.

Nearly all TFT LCDs are made from a-Si because of the technology's economy and maturity, but the electron mobility of a p-Si TFT is one or two orders of magnitude greater than that of an a-Si TFT.

This makes the p-Si TFT a good candidate for an TFT array containing integrated drivers, which is likely to be an attractive choice for small, high definition displays such as view finders and projection displays.

Structure of Color TFT LCD TVs and LCD Monitors

A TFT LCD module consists of a TFT panel, driving-circuit unit, backlight system, and assembly unit.

Structure of a color TFT LCD Panel:

Structure of a color TFT LCD Panel
  1. LCD Panel
    - TFT-Array Substrate
    - Color Filter Substrate
  2. Driving Circuit Unit
    - LCD Driver IC (LDI) Chips
    - Multi-layer PCBs
    - Driving Circuits
  3. Backlight & Chassis Unit
    - Backlight Unit
    - Chassis Assembly

It is commonly used to display characters and graphic images when connected a host system.
The TFT LCD panel consists of a TFT-array substrate and a color-filter substrate.

The vertical structure of a color TFT LCD panel.

vertical structure of a color TFT LCD panel

The TFT-array substrate contains the TFTs, storage capacitors, pixel electrodes, and interconnect wiring. The color filter contains the black matrix and resin film containing three primary-color - red, green, and blue - dyes or pigments. The two glass substrates are assembled with a sealant, the gap between them is maintained by spacers, and LC material is injected into the gap between the substrates. Two sheets of polarizer film are attached to the outer faces of the sandwich formed by the glass substrates. A set of bonding pads are fabricated on each end of the gate and data-signal bus-lines to attach LCD Driver IC (LDI) chips

Driving Circuit Unit

Driving an a-Si TFT LCD requires a driving circuit unit consisting of a set of LCD driving IC (LDI) chips and printed-circuit-boards (PCBs).

The assembly of LCD driving circuits.

assembly of LCD driving circuits

A block diagram showing the driving of an LCD panel.

block diagram showing the driving of an LCD panel

To reduce the footprint of the LCD module, the drive circuit unit can be placed on the backside of the LCD module by using bent Tape Carrier Packages (TCPs) and a tapered light-guide panel (LGP).

How TFT LCD Pixels Work

A TFT LCD panel contains a specific number of unit pixels often called subpixels.
Each unit pixel has a TFT, a pixel electrode (IT0), and a storage capacitor (Cs).
For example, an SVGA color TFT LCD panel has total of 800x3x600, or 1,440,000, unit pixels.
Each unit pixel is connected to one of the gate bus-lines and one of the data bus-lines in a 3mxn matrix format. The matrix is 2400x600 for SVGA.

Structure of a color TFT LCD panel.

Structure of a color TFT LCD panel

Because each unit pixel is connected through the matrix, each is individually addressable from the bonding pads at the ends of the rows and columns.
The performance of the TFT LCD is related to the design parameters of the unit pixel, i.e., the channel width W and the channel length L of the TFT, the overlap between TFT electrodes, the sizes of the storage capacitor and pixel electrode, and the space between these elements.
The design parameters associated with the black matrix, the bus-lines, and the routing of the bus lines also set very important performance limits on the LCD.

In a TFT LCD's unit pixel, the liquid crystal layer on the ITO pixel electrode forms a capacitor whose counter electrode is the common electrode on the color-filter substrate.

Vertical structure of a unit pixel and its equivalent circuit

Vertical structure of a unit pixel and its equivalent circuit

A storage capacitor (Cs) and liquid-crystal capacitor (CLC) are connected as a load on the TFT.
Applying a positive pulse of about 20V peak-to-peak to a gate electrode through a gate bus-line turns the TFT on. Clc and Cs are charged and the voltage level on the pixel electrode rises to the signal voltage level (+8 V) applied to the data bus-line.

The voltage on the pixel electrode is subjected to a level shift of DV resulting from a parasitic capacitance between the gate and drain electrodes when the gate voltage turns from the ON to OFF state. After the level shift, this charged state can be maintained as the gate voltage goes to -5 V, at which time the TFT turns off. The main function of the Cs is to maintain the voltage on the pixel electrode until the next signal voltage is applied.

Liquid crystal must be driven with an alternating current to prevent any deterioration of image quality resulting from dc stress.
This is usually implemented with a frame-reversal drive method, in which the voltage applied to each pixel varies from frame to frame. If the LC voltage changes unevenly between frames, the result would be a 30-Hz flicker.
(One frame period is normally 1/60 of a second.) Other drive methods are available that prevent this flicker problem.

Polarity-inversion driving methods.

Polarity-inversion driving methods

In an active-matrix panel, the gate and source electrodes are used on a shared basis, but each unit pixel is individually addressable by selecting the appropriate two contact pads at the ends of the rows and columns.

Active addressing of a 3x3 matrix

Active addressing of a 3x3 matrix

By scanning the gate bus-lines sequentially, and by applying signal voltages to all source bus-lines in a specified sequence, we can address all pixels. One result of all this is that the addressing of an AMLCD is done line by line.

Virtually all AMLCDs are designed to produce gray levels - intermediate brightness levels between the brightest white and the darkest black a unit pixel can generate. There can be either a discrete numbers of levels - such as 8, 16, 64, or 256 - or a continuous gradation of levels, depending on the LDI.

The optical transmittance of a TN-mode LC changes continuously as a function of the applied voltage.
An analog LDI is capable of producing a continuous voltage signal so that a continuous range of gray levels can be displayed.
The digital LDI produces discrete voltage amplitudes, which permits on a discrete numbers of shades to be displayed. The number of gray levels is determined by the number of data bits produced by the digital driver.

Generating Colors

The color filter of a TFT LCD TV consists of three primary colors - red (R), green (G), and blue (B) - which are included on the color-filter substrate.

How an LCD Panel produces colors.

How an LCD Panel produces colors

The elements of this color filter line up one-to-one with the unit pixels on the TFT-array substrate.
Each pixel in a color LCD is subdivided into three subpixels, where one set of RGB subpixels is equal to one pixel.
(Each subpixel consists of what we've been calling a unit pixel up to this point.)

Because the subpixels are too small to distinguish independently, the RGB elements appear to the human eye as a mixture of the three colors.
Any color, with some qualifications, can be produced by mixing these three primary colors.

The total number of display colors using an n-bit LDI is given by 23n, because each subpixel can generate 2n different transmittance levels.

Monday, September 22, 2008

What is Blu-ray Disc?

Blu-ray, also known as Blu-ray Disc (BD), is the name of a next-generation optical disc format jointly developed by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), a group of the world's leading consumer electronics, personal computer and media manufacturers (including Apple, Dell, Hitachi, HP, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Pioneer, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, TDK and Thomson). The format was developed to enable recording, rewriting and playback of high-definition video (HD), as well as storing large amounts of data. The format offers more than five times the storage capacity of traditional DVDs and can hold up to 25GB on a single-layer disc and 50GB on a dual-layer disc. This extra capacity combined with the use of advanced video and audio codecs will offer consumers an unprecedented HD experience. Recent development by Pioneer has pushed the storage capacity to 500GB on a single disc by using 20 layers. 

While current optical disc technologies such as DVD, DVD±R, DVD±RW, and DVD-RAM rely on a red laser to read and write data, the new format uses a blue-violet laser instead, hence the name Blu-ray. Despite the different type of lasers used, Blu-ray products can easily be made backwards compatible with CDs and DVDs through the use of a BD/DVD/CD compatible optical pickup unit. The benefit of using a blue-violet laser (405nm) is that it has a shorter wavelength than a red laser (650nm), which makes it possible to focus the laser spot with even greater precision. This allows data to be packed more tightly and stored in less space, so it's possible to fit more data on the disc even though it's the same size as a CD/DVD. This together with the change of numerical aperture to 0.85 is what enables Blu-ray Discs to hold 25GB/50GB. 

Blu-ray is currently supported by about 200 of the world's leading consumer electronics, personal computer, recording media, video game and music companies. The format also has support from all Hollywood studios and countless smaller studios as a successor to today's DVD format. Many studios have also announced that they will begin releasing new feature films on Blu-ray Disc day-and-date with DVD, as well as a continuous slate of catalog titles every month. For more information about Blu-ray movies, check out our Blu-ray movies and Blu-ray reviews section which offers information about new and upcoming Blu-ray releases, as well as what movies are currently available in the Blu-ray format. 

Thursday, September 18, 2008

HTC Touch HD

General 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network HSDPA 2100 / 900
Announced 2008, September
Status Coming soon. Exp. release 2008, 4Q
Size Dimensions 115 x 62.8 x 12 mm
Weight 146 g
Display Type TFT touchscreen, 65K colors
Size 480 x 800 pixels, 3.8 inches

- TouchFLO 3D finger swipe navigation
- Accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate
- Touch-sensitive navigation controls
- Handwriting recognition
Ringtones Type Polyphonic (40 channels), MP3, WAV, WMA
Customization Download
Vibration Yes
Memory Phonebook Practically unlimited entries and fields, Photocall
Call records Practically unlimited
Card slot microSD (TransFlash)

- 288 MB RAM, 512 MB ROM
- Qualcomm MSM7201A 528 Mhz processor
Data GPRS Class 10 (4+1/3+2 slots), 32 - 48 kbps
EDGE Class 10, 236.8 kbps
3G HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g
Bluetooth Yes, v2.0 with A2DP
Infrared port No
USB Yes, miniUSB
Features OS Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
Messaging SMS, MMS, Email, Instant Messaging
Browser WAP 2.0/xHTML, HTML
Games Yes
Colors Black
Camera 5 MP, 2592 x 1944 pixels, autofocus, video, secondary VGA videocall camera

- Built-in GPS receiver
- A-GPS function
- TV-out (cable not included)
- 3.5 mm audio output jack
- YouTube client
- Stereo FM radio with RDS
- Pocket Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, PDF viewer)
- Java MIDP 2.0
- Voice memo
- MP3 player
- Built-in handsfree
Standard battery, Li-Ion 1350 mAh
Stand-by Up to 450 h
Talk time Up to 6 h 30 min

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W300

Megapixels zoom
2.7 inch

Basic Specifications
Resolution: 13.60 Megapixels
Lens: 3.00x zoom
(35-105mm eq.)
Viewfinder: Optical / LCD
LCD Size: 2.7 inch
ISO: 80-3200
Shutter: 30-1/2000
Max Aperture: 2.8
Mem Type: MS Duo / MS PRO Duo
Battery: Custom LiIon
Dimensions: 3.7x2.3x1.1in
Weight: 6.5 oz
(184 g)

Sony Cyber-shot W300 Overview

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W300 features a 13.6-megapixel 1/1.7-inch CCD image sensor which is coupled to a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar-branded 3x optical zoom and a 2.7-inch LCD display.

The Sony W300's 35 to 105mm equivalent lens incorporates Sony's Super Steady Shot optical image stabilization to minimize blur caused by camera shake at slow shutter speeds. Other W300 features include ISO sensitivity to a maximum of ISO 3,200, a Memory Stick Duo/PRO Duo card slot plus a not-so-generous 15MB of built in memory, and power from a proprietary lithium-ion rechargeable battery. The Sony W300 also offers high-definition component video output, via an optional proprietary cable or cradle.

The Cyber-shot W300 includes Sony's face detection technology, not only capable of detecting up to eight faces simultaneously, but of differentiating between adults and children, and of automatically triggering the shutter when your subject smiles. Sony's system is linked not only to the Cyber-shot W300's autoexposure and autofocus systems as in most similar systems, but also to white balance and flash metering as well, allowing the camera to ensure proper flash exposure and pleasing flesh tones.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II Hands

Preview based on a pre-production EOS 5D Mark II

Back in August 2005 Canon 'defined a new DSLR category' (their words) with the EOS 5D. Unlike any previous 'full frame' sensor camera, the 5D was the first with a compact body (i.e. not having an integral vertical grip) and has since then proved to be very popular, perhaps because if you wanted a full frame DSLR to use with your Canon lenses and you didn't want the chunky EOS-1D style body then the EOS 5D has been your only choice. Three years on and two competitors have turned up in the shape of the Nikon D700 and Sony DSLR-A900, and Canon clearly believes it's time for a refresh.

So here is the 5D Mark II, which punches high in terms of both resolution and features, headlining: 21 megapixels, 1080p video, 3.0" VGA LCD, Live view, higher capacity battery. In other words, a camera that aims to leapfrog both its direct rivals, either in terms of resolution (in the case of the D700) or features (in the case of the DSLR-A900). Full detail below.

Key features / improvements

  • 21 megapixel CMOS sensor (very similar to the sensor in the EOS-1Ds Mark III)
  • Sensor dust reduction by vibration of filter
  • ISO 100 - 6400 calibrated range, ISO 50 - 25600 expansion (1Ds Mark III & 5D max ISO 3200)
  • Auto ISO (100 - 3200) in all modes except manual
  • 3.9 frames per second continuous shooting
  • DIGIC 4 processor, new menus / interface as per the EOS 50D
  • Image processing features:
    • Highlight tone priority
    • Auto lighting optimizer (4 levels)
    • High ISO noise reduction (4 levels)
    • Lens peripheral illumination correction (vignetting correction)
  • RAW and SRAW1 (10 MP) / SRAW2 (5 MP)
  • RAW / JPEG selection made separately
  • Permanent display of ISO on both top plate and viewfinder displays
  • AF microadjustment (up to 20 lenses individually)
  • Three custom modes on command dial, Creative Auto mode
  • Image copyright metadata support
  • 98% coverage viewfinder (0.71x magnification)
  • 3.0" 920,000 dot LCD monitor with 'Clear View' cover / coatings, 170° viewing angle
  • Automatic LCD brightness adjustment (ambient light sensor)
  • Live view with three mode auto-focus (including face detection)
  • No mirror-flip for exposures in Live View if contrast detect AF selected
  • Movie recording in live view (1080p H.264 up to 12 minutes, VGA H.264 up to 24 mins per clip)
  • Two mode silent shooting (in live view)
  • New jump options in play mode
  • HDMI and standard composite (AV) video out
  • Full audio support: built-in mic and speaker, mic-in socket, audio-out over AV (although not HDMI)
  • IrPort (supports IR remote shutter release using optional RC1 / RC5 controllers)
  • UDMA CompactFlash support
  • New 1800 mAh battery with improved battery information / logging
  • New optional WFT-E4 WiFi / LAN / USB vertical grip
  • Water resistance: 10 mm rain in 3 minutes

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Size and weight1

4.5 inches (115.5 mm)
2.4 inches (62.1 mm)
0.48 inch (12.3 mm)
4.7 ounces (133 grams)


  • 8GB model: Black
  • 16GB model: Black or white


  • 8GB or 16GB flash drive

Cellular and wireless

  • UMTS/HSDPA (850, 1900, 2100 MHz)
  • GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • Wi-Fi (802.11b/g)
  • Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR


  • Assisted GPS

In the box

iPhone packaging.
  • iPhone 3G
  • Stereo Headset with mic
  • Dock Connector to USB Cable
  • USB Power Adapter
  • Documentation
  • Cleaning/polishing cloth
  • SIM eject tool


  • 3.5-inch (diagonal) widescreen Multi-Touch display
  • 480-by-320-pixel resolution at 163 ppi
  • Support for display of multiple languages and characters simultaneously


  • Frequency response: 20Hz to 20,000Hz
  • Audio formats supported: AAC, Protected AAC, MP3, MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV
  • User-configurable maximum volume limit


  • Stereo earphones with built-in microphone
  • Frequency response: 20Hz to 20,000Hz
  • Impedance: 32 ohms


  • Video formats supported: H.264 video, up to 1.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Low-Complexity version of the H.264 Baseline Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; H.264 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Baseline Profile up to Level 3.0 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats

Camera and photos

  • 2.0 megapixels Camera located on back of iPhone.
  • Photo geotagging
  • iPhone and third-party application integration

Language support

  • Language support for English, French, German, Japanese, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Russian, and Polish
  • International keyboard and dictionary support for English (U.S.), English (UK), French (France), French (Canada), German, Japanese, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese (Portugal), Portuguese (Brazil), Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Korean (no dictionary), Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Russian, and Polish

Mail attachment support

  • Viewable document types: .jpg, .tiff, .gif (images); .doc and .docx (Microsoft Word); .htm and .html (web pages); .key (Keynote); .numbers (Numbers); .pages (Pages); .pdf (Preview and Adobe Acrobat); .ppt and .pptx (Microsoft PowerPoint); .txt (text); .vcf (contact information); .xls and .xlsx (Microsoft Excel)

Connectors and input/output

  • 30-pin dock connector
  • 3.5-mm stereo headphone minijack
  • Built-in speaker
  • Microphone
  • SIM card tray

External buttons and controls

  • Sleep/wake
  • Ring/silent
  • Volume up/down
  • Home


  • Accelerometer
  • Proximity sensor
  • Ambient light sensor

Power and battery

  • Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery3
  • Charging via USB to computer system or power adapter
  • Talk time:4
    Up to 5 hours on 3G
    Up to 10 hours on 2G
  • Standby time: Up to 300 hours5
  • Internet use:
    Up to 5 hours on 3G6
    Up to 6 hours on Wi-Fi7
  • Video playback: Up to 7 hours8
  • Audio playback: Up to 24 hours9

Mac system requirements

  • Mac computer with USB 2.0 port
  • Mac OS X v10.4.10 or later
  • iTunes 7.7 or later

Windows system requirements

  • PC with USB 2.0 port
  • Windows Vista; or Windows XP Home or Professional with Service Pack 2 or later
  • iTunes 7.7 or later

Environmental requirements

  • Operating temperature: 32° to 95° F
    (0° to 35° C)
  • Nonoperating temperature: -4° to 113° F
    (-20° to 45° C)
  • Relative humidity: 5% to 95% noncondensing
  • Maximum operating altitude: 10,000 feet (3000 m)

Friday, September 12, 2008

What is Flat Screen Plasma Technology?

Flat panel plasma display is the latest display technology and the best way to achieve displays with excellent image quality and large, flat screen sizes that are easily viewable in any environment. Plasma panels are an array of cells, known as pixels, which are composed of three sub pixels, corresponding to the colors red, green, and blue. Gas in the plasma state is used to react with phosphors in each sub pixel to produce colored light (red, green, or blue). These phosphors are the same types used in cathode ray tube (CRT) devices such as televisions and standard computer monitors. You get the rich dynamic colors that you expect. Each sub pixel is individually controlled by advanced electronics to produce over 16 million different colors. All of this means that you get perfect images that are easily viewable in a display that is less than six inches thick.

Superior Performance

With flat panel plasma screens, in addition to bright, crisp images, there are other advantages. Unlike projection screens, which are designed to concentrate reflection to a narrow viewing area for brightness, plasma screens permit an exceptionally broad viewing angle -- over 160 degrees. This means that no matter where audience members are in the room, the brightness and clarity come through. And unlike conventional television screens, plasma panels are absolutely flat. This reduces glare and permits viewers to see the entirety of the screen from a broader perspective. Since panels are backlit rather than reflective (as in projection), they perform exceptionally well in bright environments.

Versatile and Ready

Plasma panels are available in a variety of configurations. Along with varying resolutions, panels come in two aspect ratios: 4:3 and 16:9. 4:3 ratio is the same as conventional televisions and computer monitors. Where, as is the case with current broadcast standards, the media has been formatted for these devices, 4:3 ratio delivers a quality picture that fills the entire screen. Presentations that have been prepared on conventional monitors will appear as they did on the original authoring platform, completely filling the screen. There is an exception in SXGA (1280 x 1024) resolutions, where the actual aspect ratio is 5:4, due to legacy issues of that pixel count.

In the 16:9 ratio, plasma panels are capable of delivering wide-screen media without "letterboxing" or blanking of parts of the screen. Wide screen panels are typically capable of higher resolution in data modes and capable of displaying wide screen video formats such as HDTV. What's more, 16:9 panels are also capable of displaying media prepared for traditional 4:3 screens via letterboxing. With video cards available from Plasma-USA, users can take advantage of the larger perspective by preparing presentations and other media for wide-screen showing.

A Note About DTV and HDTV

On April 4, 1997, the FCC ushered in digital television (DTV) by giving 6MHz of spectrum to approximately 1,500 stations for DTV broadcasting. The decree required the three commercial networks in the top ten markets to broadcast digitally by May 1, 1999, with markets 11 through 30 online by November 1, 1999. All stations must broadcast digitally by 2006, when their current analog spectrum is scheduled to revert back to the Fed.

While there is only one standard, there are 18 different video formats. The first split is between high definition and standard definition TV. Six of the video formats in the ATSC DTV standard are high definition TV: these are the 1080-line by 1920-pixel formats at 24 and 30 frames per second (1080i) , and at 60 fields per second for interlaced HDTV, and the 720-line by 1280-pixel formats at 24, 30 and 60 fps (720p). The HDTV formats have a 16:9 aspect ratio.

The 12 video formats which compose the remainder are standard definition television -- not high definition. These consist of the 480-line by 704-pixel formats in 16:9 wide screen and 4:3 aspect ratios (at the 24, 30 and 60 pictures per second rates); and the 480-line by 640-pixel format at a 4:3 aspect ratio at the same picture rates.

The formats which represent HDTV are 1020i and 720p. The "i" and the "p" in the format names refer to interlaced and progressive scanning. In interlaced scanning, half of the lines in a full frame are scanned onto the screen in a sixtieth of a second, followed by the remaining half of the scan lines in the next sixtieth. The odd lines are scanned first, then filled in by the even lines.

In an attempt to meet expectations, many plasma manufacturers are building both standards into their units. For a quick comparison of the HDTV readiness, refer to our buyer's guide.

Aspect ratios explained
Plasma screens are mainly available in one of the two aspect ratios below:

  • 4:3 aspect ratio - This is the same shape screen as a computer monitor or non-wide screen television. The width of the screen being 4 parts long and 3 parts high.
  • 16:9 aspect ratio - This is the 'wide screen' television screen shape. The width of the screen being 16 parts long and 9 parts high.

Connection to equipment

  • 42" and 50" plasma screens from any manufacturer can be connected to a computer and a video source such as a video recorder, TV, DVD player or satellite system. If, for example, you connect the plasma screen to a video recorder and a computer, you can then use the remote control to switch between the two as required. This can be very useful for presentations/training/induction's where you need to use presentation software such as PowerPoint but also show a video in the middle.

LCD monitors versus plasma screens

  • LCD monitors are very thin flat screen computer monitors. They range from around 12 to 20 inches in size and come in two sorts: computer LCD monitors and video LCD monitors. LCD technology limits the maximum size of the display. Plasma screens use a different technology and can therefore have sizes over 60 inches.
  • Plasma screens have a viewing angle of 160 degrees, which in plain English means that if you look at it from the side, you see a good clear image. LCD screens vary in quality but most do not give a good image unless you look straight at them. They is very noticeable on notebook computer screens.
  • Plasma technology is also unaffected by magnetic fields unlike CRT technology used in normal computer monitors.

What sizes do plasma screens come in?
Currently, these are:

  • 21" 4:3 aspect ratio
  • 25" 4:3 aspect ratio
  • 33" 4:3 aspect ratio
  • 37" 4:3 aspect ratio
  • 40" 4:3 aspect ratio
  • 42" 16:9 aspect ratio (wide screen) - Most Popular size
  • 50" 16:9 aspect ratio (wide screen) - Widely Accepted size
  • 60"/61" plasma screens now on the market.


  • Some Plasma screens have built-in speakers for a limited volume output from either your computer or video. Most also have speakers that can be attached to the plasma screen to increase this volume and give better quality sound. These are optional extras at additional cost.

Apple Macintosh computers and UNIX workstations

  • Plasma screens will work with PC's, Apple Macintosh computers and UNIX workstations. With some Apple computers, you will need a small device called a MAC adapter costing around £10 to connect to the plasma screen. These are supplied as standard on some screens but not all.

Lifespan of plasma screens

  • This varies considerably between manufacturers but usually from 20,000 to 30,000 hours. After this time the plasma screen will only be at around half the original brightness. 20,000 hours is 833 days or 2.3 years of continuous 24-hour use. At the end of the plasma screen's life, the screen will be very dull and you will need to replace the plasma screen with a new one. This is one advantage plasma screens have over LCD projectors which have a bulb life of usually 2,000 hours before replacement.

The distance that plasma screens can be from the computer

  • All plasma screens come supplied with a cable that connects into the monitor port (or external monitor port on notebooks) to display the computer's image. These are normally around two meters in length. You can purchase longer cables up to ten meters in length so that you can position the computer further away.
  • 30'-35' is the maximum distance that the computer's signal will travel without the picture being degraded with loss of image quality. There are devices on the market that can be used to extend this distance:
  • Booster boxes and extra cabling to extend the distance between the computer and plasma screen

Scan converters

  • Some plasma screens are only made to display a low resolution, for example 640 x 480 pixels. A scan converter will take a larger resolution, for example 800 x 600 pixels, from a computer and then output to the plasma screen at the lower resolution (640 x 480). It does this using a technique called 'compression' which will miss-out some of the lines from the original image in order to display a picture.
  • Scan converters to turn the computer signal into an RGB signal that will travel long distances on RGB cabling. This is turning the digital computer output into a video signal so that it will travel further distances to the plasma screen.
  • Many 42" and 50" plasma screens have a built-in scan converter. This is how a 852 x 480 pixel 42" screen can display an XGA image, i.e. one made up of 1024 x 768 pixels. Some quality and detail is lost by using scan converters.

Brightness and contrast ratio

  • Plasma screen brightness is measured in candelas. Plasma screens generally range from 50 to 550 candelas. 250 candelas is television level brightness.
  • The contrast ratio is the difference in definition between the colors black and white when displayed on screen. The higher the number the better the definition.

Using plasma screens with more than one computer

  • In a conference/board room setting, users with notebooks can simply take it in turns to connect the plasma screen cable into the external monitor ports on their notebook computers. You can also purchase switch boxes that allow several computers to connect to a plasma screen at once. On the switch box is a button for each input computer, which when pressed, will show that computer's picture on the plasma screen.

TV tuners

  • Very few screens have a built-in TV tuner which allows the plasma screen to act as a normal television by picking up terrestrial TV channels and also Teletext. The Universal 42" plasma screen and the Philips Flat Screen television both have this feature as standard. Optional television tuners are available from other manufacturers.

Split screen plasma screens

  • Some plasma screens have split-screen and picture-in-picture functions. This can be very useful in public areas as you can display information on one side and display adverts on the other side. This can be even used to generate a revenue from advertising. Universal 42" and 50" screens are the only ones currently available with the split screen feature and picture in picture. Eizo produce a 50" plasma screen with picture in picture but this is limited to 3 set sizes. You can use these features with 1 computer and 1 video input or 2 video inputs at the same time without additional hardware.

Can I use a plasma screen without a computer or video recorder?

  • You can think about a plasma screen as the same an a computer monitor. If the computer is not attached then nothing is displayed.
  • However, some older discontinued plasma screens, for example the Fujitsu PDS-4204, had a built-in PCMCIA card slot feature. This allowed you to download still images from a PC to an PCMCIA card (a credit card sized memory card) and insert this card into the plasma screen. The screen would then display still images (without sound).


  • If you are planning to mount the plasma screen on a wall and you do not want cables going to a desktop computer, you can purchases mini-computers that will sit in the very small gap between the wall mount bracket and the plasma screen.

Connecting to plasma screens by telephone and modem

  • You may need to update the images displayed on a plasma screen remotely. For example, if the plasma screen is used as an advertising board in a shopping center. You will need:
  • A computer attached to the plasma screen
  • A modem attached to the computer
  • A dedicated telephone line that you can dial into
  • 2 copies of remote control software such as PC-Duo. PC-Duo is loaded on the plasma screen computer and sit waiting for you to dial into it by modem (can be password protected). You then take control of the plasma screen PC so that you see what's on the plasma screen and can change what is displayed or fix any problems.

Video walls

  • Plasma screens can be connected together to display a single image as a video wall. You then have the option of:
  • Displaying a huge single image between all the screens on the wall
  • Displaying the same image on all the component screens
  • Displaying a different image on each screen
  • You will need a control box to connect all the screens together. Some plasma screens also come with the hardware to do this built-in so that you can connect several of them together as an instant video wall. The NEC 50PD1 and 42PD2 screens have this feature. You can buy 2 or 4 screen mounting brackets to connect the screens together into the video wall. The Eizo 50" screen also has this feature.

Class A and Class B plasma screens

  • Electromagnetic wave standard Class B is required for the home market all over the world. Class A is for standard commercial use.

Home cinema

  • Plasma screens are very impressive mounted on a wall for use as a television screen or for watching movies. Most plasma screens do not have built-in tuners to pick up television signals so you need to connect them to your video recorder or satellite system. You need to purchase a plasma screen that is class B (see above).

Plasma screen inputs

  • You will need to see the specification sheet of each plasma screen for its inputs. See the manufacturers section. They usually have several different types of video input and a cable to plug directly into a computer.


  • Most plasma screens are supplied without any type of stand. The stands are available at extra cost, but you will need to purchase one of them.
  • Ceiling-mount Bracket
    Normally fully adjustable so that you can possible a plasma screen with ease. Double sided ones are available to mount 2 screens.
  • Desk Top Stand
    These are ideal for exhibitions or on top of boardroom tables.


  • Most plasma screens have built-in speakers. The optional speakers attach to the side of the screen to increase maximum volume.

Speaker Stands

  • For use with optional speakers (see above) for table top use.

Wall-mounting Bracket

  • These allow the screen a small amount of tilt up and down. Some can even be adjusted left or right.

Flight Case

  • This is an expensive extra which is designed to fully protect plasma's during shipping. Most screens arrive in cardboard boxes. Flight cases are ideal for hire companies.

Wide screen 16:9 aspect ratio

  • Normal computer graphics cards output in a 4:3 aspect ratio, e.g. 800 x 600. These cards can be used to output in a 16:9 aspect ratio, for example 852 x 480. This is only necessary for exact pixel by pixel control of the screen. Screens will automatically display normal computer images without problem.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB Home Theater Projector

Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB Projector Highlights:

* Best in class black levels - superior to any sub-$3000 projector I've seen yet, and better than most under twice that price.
* Excellent shadow detail
* Sharp - better than average - for 1080p projectors
* Good, not great, out of the box color accuracy, needs some work, for best enjoyment
* A bright Dynamic mode that really does the trick. Excellent on sports and HDTV, with some ambient light
* Solidly built
* Vertical and horizontal lens shift, and zoom lens with lots of range for excellent placement flexibility
* Excellent, best in class warranty
* 2 HDMI 1.3 inputs, with support for 1080p 24fps

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sony PlasmaPro FWD-42PV1/B Black 42" Plasma Display

Key Specifications

Sony PlasmaPro FWD-42PV1/B 42 " Plasma Display



Manufacturer Part #


Plasma Display


HDTV Plasma Display

Display Area

Diagonal: 42 "


852 x 480

Aspect Ratio


Contrast Ratio



500 cd/m2

Number of Colors
(Gray Levels)

1.07 Billion Colors

Cabinet Color


Signal Input

Input Video


Component Video
Composite Video


Horizontal: 15KHz to 75 KHz
Vertical: 50 Hz to 75 Hz

Input Connectors

1 x Y/C (Mini Din 4)
1 x Component Video
1 x Composite Video
1 x Digital

(W x H x D)


40.7" x 24.9 " x 4.0"



65.9 lbs.


2 Years Parts and Labor, 1 Year Panel

Includes in the Box

Sony PlasmaPro FWD-42PV1/B 42" Plasma Display
DVI-D Cable
AC Power Cord
Operating Instruction
AC Plug Holder (2)
AA/R6 Size Battery(2)
Cable Holder (4)
RS232C and Multi Function Remote

42" Plasma Monitor
852 x 480 Resolution 16:9 panel(viewable area, measured diagonally)

Digital Video Input (DVI-D)
The DVI-D HDCP input function offers a high picture quality when used with a DVI-equipped PC(DVI video cable is supplied).

High Contrast
Ultra-high panel brightness and contrast (10,000:1 contrast ratio). Ideal for television, HD content or PC signals.

Long Life Panel
60,000 hours to half brightness

Screen Saver Functions
Full Screen Saver Functions including Auto Dimmer functions and on/off timer.

Digital Stereo Audio Amplifier
7 Watt Digital Stereo Audio Amplifier with optional speakers (SS-SP42FW/S)

Standard Definition and High Definition Formats
Displays Standard Definition and High Definition Formats Including 1080/60i, 720/60P, 1080/24Psf, and 480/60p Video

Mounting Flexibility
All models can be mounted in various positions to meet different user applications, whether placed on the optional stand*, installed on a wall, or hung.

Sophisticated Style
Versatile and Stylish design with its simple yet sophisticated appearance, the PlasmaPro Series offers a stylish, high impact way to convey graphical messages.

Superb Quality, Minimal Space
With excellent installation flexibility,these slim and lightweight displays provide large, superb-quality images in minimal space.