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TV Specifications Explained

Updated on February 5, 2014
OK! this is a TV. Ah! wait a sec, you already know that.
OK! this is a TV. Ah! wait a sec, you already know that.

The Basics

Are you thinking of buying a new TV?? Or you just want to know some whereabouts and clear some doubts. If yes, then you are on the right track.If no, then...i don't know.Hey! those words rhyme.

Jokes apart, in a layman's language, TV is a piece of tech that lets you watch videos with sound. As the word says television, it is an electronic device that can receive video and sound signals and shows output on a screen after some processing on the signal. TV's are the most common source of entertainment in modern society.So there's nothing bad to learn a few things about a thing that we use the most.TV specifications are explained below

Note:- Rather than explaining working of a TV, I am writing this hub more as a guide to know about basic things you should keep in mind before buying a TV. Plus simplicity is the main goal so that it is easily understandable for those who are new to these terms.

The Guide Starts Now

Ever wondered what those numbers like 1080i, 1080p, 720p meant? If you don't then let me tell you that those are Resolutions.

Resolution :- It is one of the prominent TV specification. It defines the resolving power of any display device i.e. how clearly it can produce any image.The whole screen is made up of small dots, more precisely, squares called pixels. They are the building blocks of the picture. So higher resolution means higher no. of pixes and thus higher will be the quality, right? But this logic stands well only for TV's as TV to viewer's distance is decent.But for a computer monitor you should compare it with the screen size or pixel density. And about those numbers, well here it is-

  • 720- It means resolution is 1280X720 also called HDReady where 1280 is no. of pixels arranged horizontally and 720 vertically.
  • 1080- It's 1920x1080 also called FullHD. Just increased no. of pixels on either direction.

p/i- P stands of progressive and I stands for interlaced.These are a kind of scanning techniques or processes used to produce image. Without going into details of scanning, i would recommend interlaced scanning as its like increasing frame rate to double because in this scanning each frame/image is scanned twice

Tip:- Go for higher res screens.

Refresh rate :-

Have you ever seen some numbers written with Hz in the end? Well, its the refresh rate. It shows how rapidly the image is changing on the screen. For those who don't know, a video is a sequence of still images played in a row at a rate so that or eye consider it in motion.This happens because of persistence of vision.Now what's that? Here, when ever we see something , it remains in the eye for a fraction of time for like 0.07s.So if the image changes, the next image is superimposed/formed on the previous one. This process happens again and again and if the difference is infinitesimal,then we will see the whole thing in motion TV would not have evolved if we were able to recognize each frame distinctly. Imagine a world without TV!! Oh boy,!.

So for smoother motion, refresh rate should be high. Refresh rate is measured in hertz which is a unit of frequency which here means how many times the frame/image is changing in a second.So 60 Hz means 60 frames/sec. But 60 Hz doesn't means that your video will be at 60 fps at all time. It just shows the max rate the TV supports. Usually frame rate is limited by broadcast systems and video publishers. Its 30 fps for US and 24 fps for EU. Now the question arises as why to go for higher refresh rates if video is limited to 30 fps?. The answer is video games where you can get well above 30 fps limit.

Tip: Go for higher refresh rates.Though 60 is adequate, but higher is better

To prevent strain, don't look for too long .
To prevent strain, don't look for too long . | Source

Pixel Density:-

Its just ratio of resolution and screen size. It shows how denser the pixels are.Higher the pixel density, crisper the picture will be. I you move closer to your TV whether CRT (the one with bulged back) or LCD ,you can see those tiny elements that forms the picture. They are better visible on CRT's however they are not called pixels and their shape is not like a square. No need to give strain to your eyes if you are not able to see as that means that the screens pixel density is good. e.g if you have a decent phone, you might not be able to resolve each pixel! Hence the images will be crisper with corners less jaggeder.

The colors you seen in above picture are the primary color segments which forms all the colors on the screen.

Response Time:-

As the name says, its the time taken by the pixels on your TV screen to respond to any action. For example,if a fly stings you, time your nervous system to detect the sting and make you feel pain is the response time.Higher the response time more quickly the screen will change its state like from red to blue or something else. So, if the refresh rate is low, higher frame rates will blur the motion which we don't need here.While reading this article , if you move your mouse rapidly, you can see those limitations of you screen.

It is measured in ms(milliseconds). Any thing lower than 5 ms is good. 2 ms is very good. Some TV's even provide 1 ms response time. That's pretty fast.

Tip:- Go for lowest response time. Less than 5 is good.

Contrast Ratio:-

It is a ratio which shows how much whiter the whitest white is or how much darker the darkest dark is. This directly affects the color perception thus the image quality.So go for higher contrast ratio. Better contrast ratio means more true to life colors. It can be static or dynamic. Former means the contrast ratio at a particular time while the latter means ratio at any time

Tip:-Go for the highest contrast ratio.

You can see the difference that contrast ratio makes.
You can see the difference that contrast ratio makes. | Source


Its nothing but how bright the colors are . It is measured in cd/m2(candela per meter square).You should go for brighter displays but don't go for the sun.

Tip: Brighter is brighter and better.


Most of the companies use some catchy names to describe their audio effects. However you can buy anyone you like as all are good.TV's usually come with 2-channel speaker system called stereo system. 2 channel means that it got two speakers.Output wattage is a direct measure of intensity of sound. So higher is louder. Cheap solutions make compromise with the sound quality.So its better to spent a bit high if you can get a better sound system to enjoy any form of media to its fullest.There are other things that really decides the clarity of sound but built-in speakers of TV are enough for casual watching.

Tip:- Don't compromise in case of sound. Look for better wattage.

Viewing Angle:-

This isn't a parameter that you should worry about in today's market. Viewing angle describes the range of angles/directions you can see correct colors on the screen.Most of the modern TV's viewing range is wide. So that all depends on your choice.

Tip: Go for wider angles . Rest depends on your room setup.

These are a few basic tips for getting the best for your buck. Increasing any of the above said features increases the cost too. So a compromise can be made wherever possible but keep it under the recommended limits for pleasurable viewing experience.

That was OK but what about all those displays like LCD,LED,PLASMA,AMOLED etc.?

At the current time AMOLED can be considered best but that technology is not used for TV's on commercial scale. Though there was a presentation at CES. So best is LED. All these are display technologies used in current market. I will try to explain those some other time.

So next time you go to buy a TV or come across these terms you will know what you are reading/told.

There are a few other things like aspect ratio which gives the ratio of width to height of screen e.g. 16:9,4:3. 16/4 is width and 9/3 is height, video interface e.g. HDMI,VGA/D-SUB,USB.etc that can be used to connect the TV to other device like PC, Blu ray, etc. But most important are discussed above.That's all and feel free to ask any question.


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    • Mikelikesu1954 profile image

      Mikelikesu1954 5 years ago from SC

      Very informative

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      pc 4 years ago

      thanks you very much for such information

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