Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I also use an LCD Television as a Computer Monitor?

    The presence and growth of LCD television certainly has its roots in the development and success of LCD computer monitors, and, thus share a great deal of characteristics with them. Most LCD televisions have VGA (PC Monitor) input connections that allow them to be used as a computer monitor.

    However, if your main purpose is to use an LCD display as computer monitor, the additional cost of the features of an LCD television, such as a built-in analog or HDTV tuner, analog AV and HDMI inputs, and other features needed for television-like performance, may be extra things you may not need.

    In addition, if you are a gamer or have your PC integrated into your home theater system, and want the largest possible monitor to play on and show off to your friends, a 32-inch, or larger, LCD television can be a very impressive computer monitor.

    If you are planning to use your LCD TV as both a television and computer monitor, make sure the unit you are considering does have VGA or other connection options designed for PC use.

  • Are all LCD TVs also HDTVs?

    No. Most are, but some of the smaller LCD TVs may not be.

    For a TV to be classified as an HDTV, or HDTV-ready, it must be able to display at least 1280 pixels wide by 720 pixels tall ("1280x720"). Sets that display only 852x480 or 1024x768 are called “EDTVs” (extended- or enhanced-definition TVs). Although images on these lower-resolution TVs may look great, they are not true HDTVs. HDTV-ready TVs are TVs without HDTV tuners (essentially monitors), capable of displaying HD only from an external HDTV signal source, such as an HD receiver or set-top box.

    Because some manufacturers may not label their low-resolution TVs accurately when they call them "HDTVs," when shopping for HDTVs always check the pixel resolution and make sure it's 1280x720 or higher.

  • Do all LCD TVs have tuners?

    Almost all LCD TVs include internal tuners. In addition, some LCD TVs also come with a QAM tuner to receive unscrambled HD cable signals (usually cable feeds of local HD TV stations).

    However, some LCD TVs that are actually classified as "monitors" require external tuners to receive broadcast, satellite, or cable TV signals. When shopping for a LCD TV, make sure you ask your dealer what's required for the TVs you are considering to receive broadcast TV signals.

  • Are LCD TVs available in screens as large as plasma TVs?

    Yes, although large-screen LCD TVs are generally more expensive than similar-sized plasma sets. The price difference between the two, though, is narrowing quickly. The market's dominated by plasma TVs for 50-inch and larger screens, but LCD TVs dominate the 40-inch and smaller screen market.

    Currently, the largest LCD TVs available to the general consumer are in the 65-inch screen size, while some plasma screen sizes have reached more than 100 inches.

    As LCD manufacturing technology advances, you'll see increased availability and lower prices for large-screen LCD TVs.

  • What is an LCD TV?

    LCD (liquid crystal display) TV screens are made of two layers of transparent, polarized material. One layer holds the liquid crystals. Electric current passes through the crystals, making them either block light (to make the pixel dark) or let light through (to create the on-screen image). Liquid crystals don't make their own light, so a light source behind the crystals (such as a small fluorescent bulb) provides the light that passes through the liquid crystals to the screen image.

    Because of this technology, LCD TVs use less power (and generates less heat) than plasma TVs or old-fashioned CRT (tube) TVs. LCD TVs also emit no radiation from the screen.

  • What are the pros and cons of LCD TVs vs. plasma TVs?

    LCD TVs:

    • Don't experience image burn-in.
    • Have a cooler running temperature.
    • Have no high-altitude usage issues.
    • Are brighter.
    • Are lighter weight (as compared to a plasma of equivalent size).
    • Have a lifespan of 60,000 hours or longer.
    • Have a lower contrast ratio (not as good at rendering deep blacks).
    • Are not as good at tracking motion (fast-moving objects may show some lag artifacts). However, this is becoming less of a problem with the new 120Hz screen refresh rates and 240Hz processing in higher-end LCD TVs.
    • Are not as common in large screen sizes (above 42 inches) as plasma. However, the availability of larger sizes is growing.
    • Can have individual pixels burn out, causing small black or white dots to appear on the screen.
    • Are typically more expensive than similar-sized plasma TVs (although this is changing), especially when comparing EDTV plasmas (sets that display only 852x480 or 1024x768) to HDTV-LCD TVs.

    Plasma TVs:

    • Have more availability in large screen sizes.
    • Have better contrast ratio to render deeper blacks.
    • Have better color accuracy and saturation.
    • Have better motion tracking (little or no motion lag in fast-moving images).
    • Are more susceptible to image burn-in.
    • Generate more heat than LCD TVs.
    • Don't perform as well at higher altitudes.
    • Have a potentially shorter display lifespan, although technology improvements have made this less of an issue.
  • How do I use the Sleep Time feature?

    Press Sleep on the remote multiple times to cycle through the preset times that the TV remains on before automatically turning off. When the timer displays "0," the sleep timer is off.

  • Will an LCD TV work with my VCR?

    Yes. LCD TVs work with any video source that has standard RCA-style AV jacks, S-Video, or component video outputs. Some LCD TVs have DVI-HDCP inputs, and most modern sets have HDMI ports for use with high-definition sources. Also, because of their thin, flat-panel design, many LCD TVs have AV ports on the side, which makes it easy to connect other video sources to the TV.

    Keep in mind that the image from a VCR may not look as good on a large-screen TV as on a small screen, because the low-resolution image is being magnified on the larger screen. To get the most out of your LCD TV, consider using a Blu-ray Disc player or upconverting DVD player as a video source.