Small screen, big screen: everything’s on LCD

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devant_smart_tv20130729Exactly 10 years ago, I visited a friend of mine who used to manage a popular radio station in Ortigas, Pasig City and in his office was a newly bought computer LCD monitor that he proudly showed off to me. It was a 12î screen flat panel video monitor made by Sony, and believe it or not, it cost the radio station P99,000 to buy one. Thatís a whopping P8,250 per inch! And yes, that was expensive.

Of course, itís much different nowadays. LCD are not only standard computer desktop hardware, but is also becoming ubiquitous as a television display monitor as well. Thanks to its popularity, LCD prices have gone down tremendously.

The first time I got a hand of my very own LCD to replace my already-aging space-hugging computer monitor was back in 2007. It was 19-inch LG flat panel that cost me almost P20,000 or around P1,050 per inch. Still expensive, but compare that to the 2003 Sony model, the LG was cheap. But thatís nothing compared today, where a 32-inch LCD with full TV and multimedia functions could merely cost you around P8,000 or P250 per inch. And you can even buy that bargain inside a supermarket.

Itís truly amazing how technology becomes so affordable in the long run, and as long as thereís a market for it.

I remember my grandfather gave me a thousand pesos as a gift when I entered high school. I bought a Hitachi 12-inch black and white television at Abensonís Cubao with the money. At P999, it was the cheapest TV in the market at that time. By the time our family had our first Sony Betamax video recorder in the early-80s, we also had our first Sony Trinitron color TV. Those were the days, indeed.


Today, we watch or look at everything on an LCD ñ may it be a photo on a 2.5-inch screen of a Pentax Q10 digital camera or a text message on a 5-inch display of a Lenovo smartphone, or do social media on a 7-inch Apple iPad mini tablet PC, or a 3D movie on a 55-inch flat panel Devant SmartTV. LCD is now everywhere. And like mobile phones and the Internet, itís practically part of our daily lives.casio_g_shock20130729

Although the idea behind liquid-crystals has been around for more than a century now, it was not until the 1960s that LCD technology gained traction among laboratory researchers for its commercial applications. By the early 70s, LCD was used in wristwatches, clocks and calculators. But it wasnít until the early 90s, that LCD was used on large screens like televisions and PC monitors, particularly for use on portable computers such as laptops.

There are, however, several technologies behind LCD but that will be too technical and would require an entire column to discuss. But what we do know about LCD is that in late 2007 it has already surpassed CRT or Cathode Ray Tube in terms of sales, plus flat panel displays consume less electricity than the old bulky PC monitor or television.

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