2012 TechTree Wrap-Up Part 4: Interest In Televisions Continued To Be High

...because prices kept falling and new technologies got introduced.

2012 TechTree Wrap-Up Part 4: Interest In Televisions Continued To Be High

While new LED-backlit LCD TVs upped the display quality and 3D in TVs became more common, PC monitors continued to get cheaper still from last year – all this and some more in our round up of displays (especially TVs) in 2012.

LED TVs which were elusive (in India) last year, have now become common. Every television manufacturer out there is in the process of completely replacing LCD models with ones based on LED. Let's clarify that 'LED TV' actually means LED-backlit-LCD TV (yes, the display panel is still good old LCD). Instead of CCFL lighting, you get LED backlight, which results in increased brightness, lower power consumption, and reduced bulk. Apart from brightness, other image parameters are still dependent on the LCD panel. However, most people do find LEDs more appealing than LCDs. Like most new technologies that come to India, this one too was overpriced in its initial days. For example, a 32" LED costs the same as a 42" LCD from the same manufacturer. However, prices are coming down and we suggest you either wait until LED prices rationalise, or buy a larger LCD (despite 'normal' LCDs becoming near obsolete) for the same money. Size, sometimes, does matter.

Plasma TVs continued to co-exist with LCDs / LEDs, but they seem to be a dying breed, a pity since even budget plasma TVs match or exceed expensive LCDs / LEDs with image quality, especially with black levels. Panasonic and Samsung plasma launches saw 3D becoming a de facto feature in most models.

Price cuts that were overdue in our opinion, happened this year, most noticeably with 32" models: Some with Full HD were as cheap as Rs 20,000. TVs with PC monitor-like sizes (19" – 24") made appearance, but that's too small a size for anything but a really, really small room.

Computer monitors 23" and 24" models now occupy the spot that 20"-22" ones did as far as value for money goes. Some 24" models are now within the Rs 10,000 price bracket. If that much money is not unaffordable, we suggest you go for the large size – after all, a larger display is one of the big advantages that a desktop scores over laptops and tablets.

Touchscreens displays are not yet available, although with Windows 8 being launched, we won't be surprised to this feature coming to desktop displays next year. Of course, there are rather inexpensive solutions available for those of you who don't want to wait for that long.

NVIDIA 3D Vision 2, the Desktop 3D, which was launched globally last year finally made it to Indian markets. Die-hard fans of 3D were in for a treat with the brighter display and a remarkable reduction in flickering in 3D mode — a common complaint when it comes to viewing stereoscopic 3D content. Yet again, this technology remained accessible only to a niche segment due to exorbitant pricing — a 24" active 3D monitor costs upward of Rs 20,000 — and also because there is still not enough 3D content available. Passive 3D monitors such as those from LG and AOC are available for around Rs 15,000, but the quality is noticeably inferior as compared to active 3D. In case we didn't mention, 3D continued to be pushed yet again by TV companies even with similar sized 3D models costing up to twice as much as the 2D variants.

More than HD? As if 1080p visuals didn't pack in enough details, this year saw display technology go beyond high definition, pushing the bar higher. The introduction of 3D Ultra-high-definition TVs (UHDTV) supporting 4K resolution is a proof of concept, sure, but we are not placing bets on adoption any time too soon, owing to both, cost as well as lack of content that can utilize the massive number of pixels. 4K basically means that the TV is able to display 2160p content, because its panel has pixel dimensions of 3840x2160, which is twice in height and twice in width to that of Full HD (1080p).

Indians are yet to warm up to Projectors for home entertainment, and this time it is not just about the cost. The viewing room setup is often not conducive to set up a projector and most of us in cities cannot afford to have a dedicated TV room. Globally, while 4K projection made its debut, 3D projection was also pushed by manufacturers in an increasing number of projectors. Like TVs, many projectors now can play videos straight off USB drives.

Which of these display devices is for you? Or do you plan till next year, waiting for them to become cheaper or for newer technologies to appear?

Tags : Displays, 3D, 2012 Special, Jayesh