How Does LCD TV Work

"How does LCD TV work?" is a common question for those who are looking for a TV upgrade. How do these slim LCD TVs, so much smaller than the old models they replace, manage to produce such a superior picture?

The secret to LCD TV is in the crystals.
Many people could tell you that "LCD" stands for "liquid crystal display." Fewer people could tell you what exactly that entails, and how integral a role crystals play in the question of how LCD TVs work. LCD TVs operate using a backlight and crystals that can block light when they change their structures. In a passive state, the crystal molecules in LCD TVs are twisted. When electrical current is present, the crystals begin to untwist, responding to the amount of electrical current present. More current running through the crystals causes them to untwist more, blocking light.

When electrical current increases, the LCD TV's picture is darker. This is a large part of the reason that LCD TVs use so much power; they require electrical current to block the backlight in the correct pixels and produce a picture in various shades of intensity. The crystals and backlight in an LCD TV are capable of producing a range of grayscale images.

Pixels are our friends.
Pixels are the individual squares that compose the images you see on LCD TVs. You would see pixels as little dots on the LCD TVs, but pixels are much more than that. Each pixel is individually governed by a crystal molecule that determines how much light passes through the pixel to be displayed on the screen. When a pixel "burns out," the transistor controlling the crystal for that pixel is fried, and electrical current constantly runs through the pixel, causing the crystal matrix to be untwisted and block all light. Replacing an individual pixel is costly, and manufacturers typically replace the whole display if LCD TVs go in for service for a section of burned-out pixels.

How do colors happen?
The backlights in LCD TVs are fluorescent bulbs, which produce the full spectrum of light. LCD TVs use filters to screen out various wavelengths by way of red, blue and green subpixels, causing the light from the pixel to appear as a specific color. By varying the intensity of each subpixel, a single LCD TV pixel can display one of approximately 16.8 million colors. This array of colors that filters and subpixels produce is the reason that LCD TV displays generate images that are much more true-to-life than the old-fashioned televisions you used to watch at your parents' house.

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