Next year’s World Cup in South Africa promises to offer the very finest TV entertainment, with great soccer action in rich colors for sporting fans around the world. Providing the very best images from the event will be modern LCD television sets. Never before has this electronic window on the world been such an elegant home interior item, and never before has it presented such a great view of the world of moving images.
Today’s LCD TVs are also eco-friendly. Displays featuring the latest PS-VA technology from Merck, the world market leader for liquid crystals, deliver high contrast and fast switching times, while simultaneously reducing the brightness of the backlighting. If LEDs are used instead of cold-cathode fluorescent lamps for this purpose, power consumption falls substantially. “Today’s LCD TVs yield energy savings of up to 50 percent compared to earlier models,” explains Dr. Werner Becker, from the Liquid Crystals division. “And that’s only the beginning.”
Slimmer, faster, greener
Customers are eager to experience this new generation of LCD TV. In Western Europe and Japan, LCD sets now have a market share of around 90 percent. And throughout the entire world since 2008, as market researchers from DisplaySearch report, the majority of consumers on average have chosen TVs with liquid crystal displays. DisplaySearch is forecasting a continuous rise in the market share of LCD sets over the next five years, with tube appliances declining rapidly, plasma screens stagnating at a low level, and displays with organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) only slowly becoming established on the market.
“Over the same period, the quality of LCD displays is going to continue improving markedly,” says Dr. Georg Bernatz, a technical marketing specialist for liquid crystals at Merck. “Innovative technologies such as PS-VA will pave the way for revolutionary new possibilities.” That’s a view also shared by the international Society for Information Display (SID), which this summer recognized Merck’s development of PS-VA materials by presenting the company with the Silver Award for the Display Component of the Year.
TV and the Olympics
It’s a well-known fact that international sporting events feed the public’s curiosity for innovations in the world of TV technology. In Germany, for example, public TV broadcasting began in 1935, right in time to cover the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Back then, the quality of TV equipment was modest by today’s standards. Nevertheless, TV sets such as Loewe’s handsome wooden boxed set with 10-inch convex ground-glass screen and 240-line resolution marked a major leap forward in TV technology. By way of comparison, the first TV sets in Germany, which went on public display in 1928, had screens measuring four-by-four and eight-by-ten centimeters.
Whereas the technique of mechanical scanning dominated in the pioneering days of TV, it was replaced from the early 1930s onward by the all-electronic system from camera to display on a cathode-ray tube (CRT). Equally revolutionary was the way in which people consumed the new moving images. Instead of the collective experience of going to the movies, people were now served up the news and other programs at home. The result was a new type of individualized media experience.
A short history of Television
When people still watched the tube
The picture in CRT TVs is generated by an electron beam striking a layer of fluorescent material, which lights up as a picture element, or pixel, in varying degrees of intensity, depending on the strength of the signal. To a generate a moving image, this beam scans across the screen, line for line, guided by means of electromagnets. The quality of the picture depends essentially on the resolution and the picture frequency. In Germany, something called “interlacing” was introduced as early as 1937. This technique displays the image using only the odd-numbered scan lines, then using the even-numbered lines. The result is two successive half-images, which together generate the impression of a frequency of 50 hertz — despite having a frame frequency of only 25 hertz.
The present-day standard of 625-line resolution and 50 frames per second has applied in Germany since the resumption of TV broadcasting in 1952. It was not until the 1960s, however, that television would become established as a genuine mass medium. It was then that big, heavy, and above all bulky CRT sets began appearing in living rooms throughout the country. Back then, the idea of a flat screen was a utopian vision, since the principle of CRT demands a relatively large distance between the electron source and the screen. This is why some sets had cabinets that tapered backward like a funnel.