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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

You know what pisses me off? LCD.

You know, LCD, Liquid Crystal Display. It's a technology used widely among HDTV and computer monitors. Chances are you're reading this using one such monitor.

So why do LCDs piss me off? The technology is full of things that piss me off.

  1. Response times. The time it takes for pixels on the screen to change colors, often measured by the time it takes for a pixel to go from grey to grey. Some modern LCD screens have response times as low as around 2ms, such as the monitor I'm using now. But many still have issues with poor response times and other related issues such as ghosting.
  2. Consistency. I've seen this to some degree in every LCD I've ever owned. Sometimes hard to spot, other times much easier. Some parts of the screen will be darker or lighter than others. This isn't a very big issue, imo, but it is annoying. Usually only very noticeable on white or light colored backgrounds.
  3. Black levels. LCDs are notoriously bad at displaying deep, dark blacks. Because LCD works by blocking light, they have a really tough time with this.
  4. Viewing angles. Another issue that LCD is famous for. Because, again, they work by blocking light they have trouble displaying images at off-angles. Some screens, such as computer monitors and laptop screens are particularly bad at it.
  5. Bad pixels. Every LCD screen has a potential for dead or lit/stuck pixels out of the box. This is just unacceptable for a display technology, to me. What's an even bigger issue is the fact that some companies won't even replace or repair your screen if you don't have a certain number of bad pixels or if they aren't near the center of the screen. Just hoseshit.
I could probably go on, but those are really the main issues. So what's the alternative? Well, there doesn't seem to be one right now. Sure, we have plasma, but those screens have their own set of issues. Issues like lifespan, extra heat output and power draw and most importantly the potential for permanent burn-in when static images are left on the screen for too long. This makes them a poor choice for computer monitors and video games.CRT? Try to find one of those anymore. They're big as hell and even heavier, although are the best technology imo.

What's the solution? A better technology. There have been good candidates such as SED which, sadly, seems to be dead due to various issues. I was really excited about that technology and am really sad to hear that we'll probably never get a chance to own it.

Another promising one is OLED. Like SED, it promises incredible response times, deep blacks, great viewing angles and just an all-around wonderful picture. OLED is already being used in some smart phones and other devices and supposedly around the end of 2012 or sometime in 2013 we'll start seeing real displays in stores that we can buy. They seem to have their own set of issues that still need resolving, but they seem to be the best alternative that I can find right now.

So, hopefully in the not-too-distant future we'll have a good alternative to the current display technologies. Then I can finally stop being pissed off by LCD.

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