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What Is Laser TV?

Eugene P.
Eugene P.

A laser television, or laser TV, is a type of display that uses a series of lasers to project a picture onto a screen. Three colored lasers and rotating mirrors are used to direct the light onto a surface. The combination of the different colored lasers can form a much wider range of colors than other types of display technologies. A laser TV also is more energy efficient than other televisions. Although they are not widely available to consumers as of 2011, laser displays are in development for use in the home.

The actual display consists of a screen that is either made from a special composite material or lined with phosphors. Three lasers — one red, one blue and one green — fire at small mirrors that can rotate. The mirrors direct the laser light to the correct point on the screen. The combination of the red, blue and green lights forms the necessary color and an image built on the display.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Laser televisions are very energy efficient when compared to other types of monitors. Part of the reason for this is that, when an area of the screen is black, the lasers simply do not draw on that area. In others types of displays, the color black needs to be rendered and diodes remain on and using energy. The power needed for the lasers and mirrors also is considerably less than that need for plasma or liquid crystal displays (LCD).

The combination of the accuracy of the lasers, the materials from which the viewing surface is made and advances in digital technology all combine to provide a display that has the ability to render more colors than other displays. A laser TV is capable of displaying more than twice as many colors as either an LCD or a plasma monitor. The quality of a laser TV display is actually more accurate in rendering those colors than most high-definition televisions.

Very few laser TV sets are available to consumers as of 2011. The few that have been released are expensive and not widely available in retail locations. Most of the information about laser displays has come from prototypes and experimental models.

The actual technology behind a laser TV has already been applied successfully to other display devices that are in use. One example is a digital projector for showing digital movies in theaters. Although it uses much more powerful lasers, the concept behind how the projector works is exactly the same.

Discussion Comments


How would the color mixing happen for a laser TV? Can the lasers send out different shades of the red, green, and blue lights, or is it just one color? How do they get the light to mix before it gets to the screen? It all sounds like a very complicated process that could go very wrong.

Having the lasers would be nice for the fact that you wouldn't end up with dead pixels like you can on other types of TV screens. Repairing a laser TV would probably be pretty expensive, though. I'm sure like most electronics these days, it would almost be cheaper to replace the TV than have it fixed.


I thought it was interesting that the article said laser TVs are more energy efficient than other types. Lasers are a pretty high powered light source, so I figured they would use a lot more energy.

It seems like the picture might look funny if the screen doesn't project the color black. It would be the color of the screen itself against the lit up portions of the screen.

Also, I was wondering about the durability of these TVs. It says the picture is projected by the lasers and moving sets of mirrors. How many of these mirrors are there, and would they be prone to getting knocked out of place or broken, especially when you're moving the TV? I'm not sure how the other types of TVs work. Maybe they use rotating mirrors too, and I just didn't know it.


@David09 - I'd say you're taking a huge risk buying one of these right now. The fact that I hadn't even heard of them until I saw this article probably means that they are far from perfect. Having it as a talking point would be the main benefit.

I'm curious whether laser TVs will have the ability to project 3D picture in the future. I think that is the way most TV design is going. I know they have made a couple of them that are on the market where you don't need glasses. They are small, and the watcher has to sit at the perfect angle for the 3D to work, though.


@hamje32 - As of today I believe the laser TVs are available in certain markets, but at prices that are two to three times more expensive than a comparable high definition TV.

It all depends on how eager you are to get your hands on the latest new toys. I read a review of the laser TV once which compared it to ultra high definition.

You’re right however. This will not be the end of the line for television technology. The real question will be which of the myriad of choices we are presented with will take hold with the majority of consumers. I still believe that most people will be content with their humble LCD flat panels.


I think television technology knows no bounds. If it’s not plasma, or high definition or nanotechnology, it's lasers.

It amazes me the lengths that companies keep going to get better and better pictures out of the television sets, in hopes of achieving true realism. The pinnacle of success will be when we can completely imitate the visionary power of the human eye. I don’t know when that will be.

Personally, I am waiting for holographic projection TV. I’ve read that this technology is already in the works. It will probably use lasers to accomplish its feats of realism, in my opinion. It will be a totally interactive experience, enabling us to step into the movies and become a part of the action.

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