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Flat Screen Televisions

Updated on March 5, 2011

Flat Screen TVs

Recently, flat screen televisions replaced curved screen televisions in self-respecting living rooms throughout the free world. Bulbous screens provided many years of entertainment, but they no longer fit into our green way of life. They simply don't match the uber-efficient lifestyle to which we all aspire. Flat screens use much less electricity. They require fewer resources to manufacture. Curved screen devices emit much more potentially harmful radiation, which is a really bad thing unless you want to cook a turkey in front of your TV.

Flat screens can be hung on flat walls. Curved screens tend to hang very poorly and often temporarily. Flat screens do not distort the image being presented: a nasty curve is imparted to the image on a curved screen. For years we TV viewers tolerated this anomaly because, well, the only alternative was to not purchase a flat screen because there weren't any.

Flat screens first appeared as extremely expensive computer monitors in extremely expensive offices. Well-heeled computer users quickly adapted the new technology. They appreciated the flatness of the display (hence the name, "flat screen") as well as the smaller footprint on their physical desktop. They realized that their old curved screen occupied desktop real estate more appropriate for packets of paper clips and little tins of Altoids. High-tech flat screens were here to stay.

Flat is in.
Flat is in. | Source

For better or worse, a veritable plethora of flat screen televisions have proliferated. Wary consumers must labor through aisle after aisle of flat screen technology at the local TV store. Online options present even more mind numbing choices. Few of us actually have the time to study the various types of flat screen technologies currently available. Should we somehow master modern technospeak, tomorrow a new type of flat screen television will surely emerge into our collective consciousness. We cannot win the battle against buzz-words.

How does an otherwise reasonable human being select among the avalanche of flat screen television options? We humbly provide an overview of TV technologies and terminologies. Read on to learn what we want you to know and why you should know it. Don't feel sad if all this is new to you: only recently it was new to us as well.

Consider a basic flat screen television...

Here's an example of a basic flat screen device. Note how flat the screen is. Regardless of the brand and model of TV that you eventually choose, rest assured that the screen will be as flat as humanly possible. Modern manufacturing processes virtually guarantee that flatness can be consistently achieved. It's not necessary to spend additional money to get a flatter screen. Although some unscrupulous salespeople may attempt to 'upsell' you to premium devices that supposedly offer much more flatness, it is extremely unlikely that you will ever notice the difference.

The dreaded un-flat screen television
The dreaded un-flat screen television | Source

Can we ever go back?

As well-received as flat screen televisions have been, a few enclaves of curved TVers still persist. These folks insist that a flat screen is impossible. They meet regularly to extol the virtues of curved screens. They eschew the energy-saving technology of even the most inexpensive flat screen in favor of bulbous glass tubes emitting high levels of electromagnetic radiation, heat, and reruns of Wheel of Fortune.

Don't pity these folks. Offer them succor and solace when they run out of cable channels

We cannot go back. Modern television productions conform to a form factor that presents problems for curved screen devices. Motion pictures, or 'movies', now set the standard for almost everything appearing on your TV at home. This form factor is known in technical circles and technical polygons as "16X9".  Those who struggled with 3rd grade arithmetic may also find this nomenclature confusing: it's simply a ratio of the width of the screen to the height of the screen. Flat screens are 16X9, which is wonderful and amazing and amenable to feature films. Bulbous curved screens are 4X3, which is inconvenient and embarrassing when a world-famous movie director comes over to your house and wants to watch his latest blockbuster in your living room.

Anyway, eventually all TV programming will be produced in 16X9 format, except for reruns of Andy Griffith, which are protected by Congress and may not be messed with because they are inherently perfect.

flat screen on a flat wall
flat screen on a flat wall | Source

What other features are available on flat screen televisions?

Unlike their curved screen predecessors, flat screen televisions are packed with extremely high technology features and contrivances. Consumers who once owned curved screens are consistently amazed by cutting-edge gizmos built into even the cheapest cruddiest flat screen device.

For example, virtually every flat screen TV includes a 'remote control' device that transmits channel changes and volume adjustments across a crowded room, past the bowls of Pringles, over the sleeping Golden Retriever, and into the television. Tiny electrical circuits receive the signals and translate them into commands that are executed by software. It's all very space-age, like Tang and Teflon. No one knows how it actually works, but we all appreciate the opportunity to remain prone on the davenport while controlling the flat screen TV with one hand and clutching an orange smoothie in the other hand.

This is how you look to your flat screen television.
This is how you look to your flat screen television. | Source

Other Features That Are Included on Modern Flat Screen Televisions:

  • WiFi: your television can join the wireless network in your home and be watched by neighbors who are stealing your bandwidth.
  • HDMI inputs: HDMI stands for High Definition something something. It's a cool-looking plug on the back of the TV. It's so extremely cool that many TVs have more than one.
  • Blu-Ray: Your TV can play DVDs in a proprietary format called Blu-Ray that is better than plain old DVDs, according to the companies that make money from Blu-Ray technology.
  • Hole-covering: Modern flat screen TVs are so big and flat that they effectively cover up unsightly holes in unsightly living room walls. Curved screen TVs were very good at making these holes, when propelled at a high velocity.
  • Thinness: Thin is in. Extreme thinness is built into many flat screen televisions. Every day a thinner model is released. Some models are so thin that they cannot support their own weight and they fold over like a newspaper in a rainstorm, concurrently voiding the manufacturer's warranty. Curved screen televisions were fat and bulbous: no one likes them and everyone talked about them behind their backs.
  • 3D technology: You can put on a special pair of glasses that plug into the wall, sit directly in front of your television, hold your head perfectly motionless, and watch some television entertainment in 3-dimensional effects. It's almost like being outside in the real world, which is free and only requires cheap sunglasses.

flat, yes, but no HDMI input.
flat, yes, but no HDMI input. | Source

What kind of flat screen should you buy?

You can't purchase a flat screen TV in a doctor's office, but pretty much every other retail establishment has a few units for sale. Tomorrow, new models with New and Amazing features will be released: the model you buy today will be the paperweight of next week. You can't keep pace with technology, so don't even try.

Close your eyes and pick a flat screen TV. You'll like it until you see a commercial for a new model that makes your device look like something Fred Flintstone would put in Dino's house. You will feel worthless and inadequate within 3-6 months of your initial purchase. Your neighbor will purchase a TV with a remote that is remote controlled. Your brother-in-law will come home with a TV that weighs as much as a marble and is powered by a hamster on a wheel. Your boss will host a Super Bowl party and unleash her new TV that spits out custom flavors of Pringles during commercials.

Just buy one. No one will like you unless you buy one.


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    • nicomp profile imageAUTHOR

      nicomp really 

      7 years ago from Ohio, USA

      @Austinstar: It wouldn't have a tuner in it and it wouldn't have the plethora of inputs.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      7 years ago

      I'm kind of looking now. I just need a monitor but I may as well get something to watch a movie on. I don't "fresh TV". Great post. Thanks nicomp!

    • Austinstar profile image


      7 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Why not buy large flat screen computer monitors with remote controls? That would save a lot of time.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      We jsut recently bought a flat screen TV.However it was because the old set no longer worked.

    • nicomp profile imageAUTHOR

      nicomp really 

      7 years ago from Ohio, USA

      @Tom Whitworth: TVs are flat. A curved TV is a myth. ;)

    • Tom Whitworth profile image

      Tom Whitworth 

      7 years ago from Moundsville, WV


      Trivia fact about bulbous screens. When our family got our first TV in 1954 it was a Strongberg Carlson. They used the screen curvature as a selling point by saying people could sit at differing angles to the TV and still see it due to the curvature,


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