In the beginning, television technology was more or less set and while variations existed, they all followed the same basic pattern. That slowly changed with the advent of new technological breakthroughs allowing for larger, clearer and sharper pictures. Today, there are numerous types of TVs available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. When purchasing a television, it helps to know the difference between them.
CRT stands for "cathode ray tube," and formed the go-to television type for many years. A stream of electrons fire at a large screen coated with phosphor, creating a flickering image which appears to move. CRT TVs aren't widely available any more, but those that can be found are extremely cheap and durable, making them excellent choices for people on a budget.
Rear Projection TVs
Rear projection TVs were created to overcome the size problems of CRT. They worked by magnifying the image and reflecting it back onto the TV screen. The technology allowed for high-definition pictures and screen sizes of 72 inches and higher. Unfortunately, they were also extremely heavy and could be very expensive to boot. With the advent of LCD and plasma screen TVs, rear projection has likely gone the way of the dodo.
Front Projection TVs
Front projection TVs resemble old-fashioned projectors used in movie theaters. Indeed, most people don't even think of them as TVs, since they bear little resemblance to the other types. They're hung from the ceiling or placed on a table top, then beam the images onto a white screen in front of them. Most of them offer high-definition pictures which can be adjusted to fit your particular space. They rarely come with speakers, however, which must be purchased at additional expense. They also require darkness to function well, making them less practical for watching TV in the daytime.
Plasma Screen TVs
Plasma screens consist of tiny cells filled with xenon or neon gas trapped in plasma. Each cell is individually charged with electricity, then filtered to match a particular color. When added together (there are thousands of cells on each screen), they constitute an image. Plasma screen TVs offer the sharpest and richest image available, along with a wide viewing range enabling anyone in the room to look at them comfortable. They're also flat, which means they don't take up as much space as earlier television models. Their only downside is comparative expense and the fact that the screen itself is rather heavy.
Along with plasma screens, LCD TVs constitute the bulk of televisions currently sold. They utilize a screen full of liquid crystal, lit from behind by a lamp and filtering the light to create the image. Like plasma screen TVs, they offer an extremely sharp picture. They're much lighter than plasma screen TVs and come in comparable sizes as well. On the downside, they tend to be more expensive than plasma screens. Viewing angles become more of a problem as well, and fast-moving images (such as those during sporting events) can be blurry on an LCD TV.
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