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LED HDTVs: Size Versus Picture Versus Efficiency Versus Price

as published in electronic design

May 25, 2010

Not too long ago, buying a TV involved two simple steps: drooling over the set you’d love to own and purchasing the one you could afford. Now, with the advent of various cost-conscious technologies such as LED backlighting, there is one factor that will require less consideration: cost.

Currently, in terms of cost, there seems to be a TV available in every price bracket with little, if any, compromise in features or picture quality, regardless of the manufacturer. One could easily and correctly assume that size is now the primary feature affecting price, i.e., the bigger the display, the higher the price.

Picture quality is no longer a technical issue. With HDTVs and the numerous media sources to choose from, each of which provides a near-perfect viewing experience, picture quality is purely a subjective issue. In other words, if you like what you see, then that’s the TV for you.

There is one fairly new issue for the consumer to ponder and that’s efficiency. Whether it be environmental conscientiousness or merely a desire to lower the electric bill, the amount of power the TV consumes is a factor to consider.

FOR EXAMPLE

Westinghouse Digital’s emerging line of LED HDTVs are an example of how companies are covering all the bases. The LED-backlit models combine sleek styling, excellent picture quality, impressive energy efficiency, and all at what Westinghouse deems popular price points. As per Rey Roque, Vice President of Marketing, “Our new LED HDTVs provide an innovative slim and energy efficient design at a price that the average consumer can afford”. The lineup includes eight models offering screen sizes from 24” to 55”.

Thanks to their edge-lit LED backlight systems, each model measures about 1” thick at its edges. Generally, edge-lit displays deploy LED strips along the four edges of the TV screen and rely on light guides to direct illumination to the center and other areas of the LCD panel. Edge lighting offers three significant advantages over the alternative approach that uses local dimming. For starts, edge-lit TVs (see the figure) are much thinner and somewhat less expensive than their local-dimming competitors. Where they really shine is in the efficiency department, delivering approximately 40% better power efficiency. For example, the 32” LD-325 and LD-328 series providing resolutions of 720p and 1080p, respectively, consume less energy than a 60W light bulb.

All eight models meet or exceed Energy Star 4.0 ratings, which go into effect in the second quarter of this year and six out of the eight exceed Energy Star 5.0 ratings, which will go into effect in 2012. In essence, the majority of these LED HDTVs are two years ahead of the US curve for energy conservation.

One alleged disadvantage of edge-lit systems is that some of them tend to be brighter near the edge of the screen and they do not have the ability to reproduce true black similar to local-dimming topologies, which achieve true black by actually turning arrays of LEDs off. However, Westinghouse Digital’s offerings do not suffer either of these drawbacks.

Available in June, the 26” LD-265 and 32” LD-325 Series provide a 1,366 x 768 resolution, 16 x 9 aspect ratio, and exceed Energy Star 5.0 and California Energy Commission (CEC) Tier 2 specs. The 26” LD-268 Series (available July) and the 42” LD-245 (available August) sport 1,920 x 1,080 resolutions, 16 x 9 aspect ratios, and also exceed Energy Star 5.0 and California Energy Commission (CEC) Tier 2 specs.

Available around the end of the third or early fourth quarter, the 24” LD-245 and 32” LD-328 Series offer a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution and a 16 x9 aspect ratio. Both exceed Energy Star 5.0 and California Energy Commission (CEC) Tier 2 specs.

Offering larger viewing areas, the 46” LD-46F97OZ and 55” LD-55F97OZ deliver a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution and a16 x 9 aspect ratio. These units meet Energy Star 4.0 specs. For more information, visit http://westinghousedigital.com/products/.

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