Alphabet Soup

2 minute read
Chris Taylor

TIME takes a look at the coolest TVs on the market:


These are the most seductive and the most expensive, but prices are coming down.

LCD True liquid-crystal display is basically a larger version of the pixel-based technology used in computer monitors. Pro Each new generation of LCDs looks sharper and costs less. Con Problems with contrast and a slow refresh rate mean that for now, it’s hard to make large-screen LCD TVs.

Hot brand: Sharp, $650-$9,000

PLASMA Ultraviolet rays bombard a screen covered in tiny specks of phosphor. Pro The Rolls-Royce of flat panels, it’s equally bright from every angle. Con Heavy. Expect to spend up to $15,000 on a good model. Cheaper sets can’t handle high-definition TV.

Hot brand: Panasonic, $1,800-$25,000


New chip-based technologies have spawned three kinds of TVs that are almost as good as flat panels but cheaper.

V REAR-PROJECTION LCD Three separate LCD chips–red, green and blue–are aimed at a mirror that projects them onto the screen, like regular TV tubes. Pro Handles all the extra lines of HDTV. Con Not as thin as flat-panel LCD or plasma TVs. Black areas of the screen look gray.

Hot brand: Sony, $2,000-$7,000

DLP Digital light processing projects a spinning color wheel on top of a grayscale image. Pro Black areas look better than on LCDs, and prices are low. Con Videophiles say they see a rainbow-like shimmering that can cause eye strain.

Hot brand: Samsung, $1,900-$5,000

LCOS Liquid crystal on silicon projects directly onto the screen with no mirrors. Pro High contrast and high resolution. Con There aren’t many LCOS sets yet. Philips has discontinued its models.

Hot brand: JVC, $3,000-$4,500

–By Chris Taylor

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