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What is a Flat Screen Television?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 16, 2024
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A flat screen television is a type of television that is only a few inches thick and has a perfectly flat screen, not the slightly curved screen that was used on older CRT models. These are also referred to as flat panel televisions, and are available in LCD and plasma varieties. Flat panel displays refer to computer monitors in this flat screen design. A flat screen television is a very popular choice for many homes, due in large part to its traditionally excellent picture quality and wide range of options.

In general, LCD televisions come in smaller versions, whereas plasma televisions come in larger sizes. However, this gap is becoming less and less common, and it is now possible to get LCD or plasma televisions in virtually any size. A flat screen television is almost always a widescreen television, meaning it has a 16:9 aspect ratio rather than the 4:3 aspect ratio of older televisions. Aspect ratio simply refers to the width compared to the height of the television.

For this reason, these televisions are great choices for movies, which are often displayed in a widescreen format. Many television shows are also now being broadcast in widescreen formats, due to the large number of people who own a flat screen television. These televisions are typically high definition as well, and are manufactured in 720p or 1080p varieties.

This refers to the screen resolution and references the amount of pixels in the screen; 720p is available in 1,366 by 768 or 1,024 by 768 resolution, whereas 1080p is 1,920 by 1,080. 1080p is "true" high definition, and is the resolution that high-definition discs are displayed in. In general, plasma screens tend to work best in darker rooms, whereas LCD screens are brighter and may work better in sunnier rooms. There are many websites that offer lengthy buying guides with additional, much more detailed information regarding screen size and resolution, as well as other considerations when purchasing this type of television, and it is a good idea to research these buying guides before making a purchase.

Flat screen televisions are typically quite expensive, but they vary widely in price based on quality, size, and features. Keep in mind that a large television with a flat screen will need a stand designed to hold it safely, and some can be quite difficult to set up. It is also possible to mount a flat screen television on the wall, which can be a great way to save space.

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