My first ‘real’ flatscreen ‘TV’ was a Fujitsu Siemens Commercial Plasma display at 40 inches, this was a beast of a monitor both in its size and weight, it had no Terrestrial-view aerial inputs, only a computer D-Sub input, the resolution was a whopping 1024 x 768 pixels, those pixels were BIG as you can imagine for the screen size – this did not matter as there were no TVs or monitors available in the wild for non-industry use.
So where did I get this screen from (and two others).. well, they were from a media production company and were used with other hardware such as video editing and processing specialist equipment for visual effects and real time playback across different categories of mainstream media being broadcast across the airwaves (Pre-Digital transmissions, this was)
Back then (some 15 years ago) this industrial display was awesome, I custom built a media-PC from parts I bought at a local computer fair (That I ran), it sat underneath the mosaic table the screen was set upon, there was no stand for it, only a wall display, this marvellous piece of hardware thing was way over 70Kgs and my walls were made from plasterboard with thin wooden battens – so it was pretty much grounded in the environment it was located in.
The media pc had a DVD-ROM drive, was connected to the internet and had access to torrent streams so a lot of data was accessible. The computer had a sound card, as the display had no audio inputs or outputs – this was connected to an AV amplifier and surround sound with BIG speakers. I used to like playing first person shooters on it such as Quake and Half life, then other games like Empire Earth and Civilisation, The Sims, and old arcade games via the MAME suite and some ROMS that were available.
Most of my friends back then had Cathode Ray Tube televisions, the bulky units available with a curved ‘tube’ screen that took up a lot of space, ok, don’t let me get you wrong, the industrial display I had was of a definite flat screen, the housing behind it was maybe 20cms deep and it ran HOT. The home and commercial displays now are very thin at maybe 5cms, some much thinner – these are of a Liquid Crystal Display, there are then multiple variations of LCD screens and are called QLED, Quantum Dot, LED, LCD TN, LCD IPS, LCD PLS, LCD VA and so on..). There are OLED systems too, and the traditional CRT screens that now have a much smaller overall footprint but are harder to find nowadays as a diminishing and inefficient form of display technology. Plasma displays are still around with the tech being much better now – they are mainly used for displays such as those of public announcements and outside advertising-billboards.
So what’s next, the screens are getting not only of a smaller form factor but super efficient, most 65” TVs use from 215 – 225 Watts (on standard with no custom power saving) – my old 40” plasma used some 600 Watts! Not only that but the pixels are much smaller making for very High Definition displays, actually, some are so HD that our eyes cannot take in all the info – who really needs a 8k screen anyway?
Who does not, should be the question?
Samsung has shown us one part of the future with their 292 inch offering, affectionately known as ‘The Wall’. This behemoth of a ‘Television’ is a modular display and utilizes Samsung’s proprietary MicroLED technology. This is made up of modules that clip together a bit like LEGO with the end result of Samsung being able to offer a range of screen size and resolution configurations. As the pixels in the modules are fixed, you can only add to the size of the ‘set’, and not overall pixel-density within in. When this modules are clipped together, they use data from an AI upscaling algorithm for premium vision display for our eyes to take in.
Smart TVs are just that, they can access a myriad of services and data streams including web access, home automation integration, self recording of televised programs, screen mirroring to mobile devices and all sorts.. You can do all this from just speaking into the remote control!!
Do be warned though that they can be compromised too, being essentially a multi core processor computer unit that runs on LINUX, ANDROID or some other OS flavor, they are open to exploits – from the inner hardware layer to the front-end application and operating system layer.
This does mean that they can also be updated with custom apps (sideloading or otherwise) to further enhance the system, you can get apps for live TV such as those of IPTV to watch broadcasts from all over the world, play multiplayer games, do your shopping online and much more.
Just a word of warning not to purchase a TV with a camera in it, these can be hacked so someone can remotely watch you, the connotations of this can go far and wide if say, you have a screen in a bedroom. It is the same with a voice controlled unit, not only can voice data collection be made but also it is possible to make this connection like a one way telephone (with recording), anything you say will not be as secret as your thought it might within the confines of your walls.
Don’t let me be a scaremonger with the above though, many devices can do all that already, including your smartphone, tablet, door entry system, home automation systems and more.
Prior to your purchases, learn how to protect them before whimsically installing smart devices and you’ll be ok 🙂