Posted in:

From Cathode Ray to OLED: The Constant Evolution of TVs

© by Vecteezy

John Baird created the first working television in 1924. Since then, engineers have been developing technologies that improve TV viewing experiences for consumers relentlessly. They’ve made a few breakthroughs along the way.

Perhaps the biggest TV technology of the last century was color TV. It changed how the world consumed digital content. It also popularized televisions, leading to millions of sales around the world. Color TV aside, here are more technologies that revolutionized modern TV.

Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs)

Three years after Baird’s TV became global news, Japanese engineer Kenjiro Takayanagi used Cathode Ray Tubes to display images on a TV. Soon, TV manufacturers began creating TVs using CRT technology.

In the 1990s, engineers came up with ways to make CRT TV sets durable. This led to the wholesale manufacture of TVs in Europe, Asia, and eventually in North America.

Up until the early 2000s, nearly all TVs in the world were displaying images and videos using CRTs. However, the technology didn’t always remain the same. It has undergone countless improvements.

For example, manufacturers figured out how to create CRT displays with sharp brightness and clear colors. Next, they made a breakthrough by creating colored displays with High-definition resolutions. They also improved screen sizes although these models were usually too expensive for the majority of buyers.

Plasma Display TVs

Plasma display TVs launched in the 1990s. They combined ionized gas, plasma, and electric fields to display images on TV. For about a decade, plasma TVs seemed to be the ideal replacement for Cathode Ray Tubes. Then they disappeared from the market. What happened? 

First, plasma TVs could only be produced in large screen sizes. The smallest TV was 32 inches in size. You could also buy 46 inch TVs, 55 inch or 65 inch TVs. This wasn’t exactly a bad thing. 

But there was a problem. Plasma TVs were too expensive for the majority of buyers. Considering CRT displays were much cheaper, manufacturers found it difficult to sell plasma sets.

Another problem with plasma TVs was that they used glass displays that produced a lot of glare. This resulted in widespread concern from consumers and poor sales.

Then there was the weight problem. Plasma TVs were thick and heavy. And with LCD and LED technology growing fast in the 2000s, it was only a matter of time before plasma became obsolete. Indeed, manufacturers officially stopped creating plasma displays in 2014.

Liquid Crystal Display TVs

LCD is short for liquid crystal displays. It’s one of the most popular displays on modern televisions. While LCD technology has been around since 1960, LCD TVs only became popular at the start of this century.

In 2007, sales for LCD TVs finally overtook those of CRT televisions. Since then, most manufacturers have primarily been creating their TVs using this technology.

LCD is usually confused with LED technology. LED stands for Light Emitting Diodes. LED is a type of LCD that produces brighter and clearer colors in TVs. It uses diodes to display images while traditional LCD TVs use fluorescent lights (CCFLs).

LED LCD TVs not only produce quality images but they also consume less power. What’s more, they have double or triple the lifespan of CCFL LCD TV displays.

Additionally, these TVs can be created in different sizes, ranging from small 24-inch sets to 60 inch TVs. Some LCD screens actually come in 75 inch and 85-inch sizes. However, manufacturers are now using OLED technology to create high-end large TV models.


LED, OLED, and QLED sound pretty similar. But they’re all different. As mentioned, LED is a type of LCD TV that uses light-emitting diodes for backlighting. OLED uses pixels that produce light to display images. 

OLED uses pixels that work individually, meaning some pixels could be turned off while others are working. This increases color contrast, leading to epic image quality. 

OLED technology is common in modern high-end TVs, especially those created by big brands like LG and Samsung. OLED TVs are incredibly expensive. However, they are worth the investment if money isn’t a problem.

QLED TVs add a layer of Quantum Dots to LED LCD displays to boost the color quality. Essentially, they add color volume to TVs. This makes their images much better looking compared to other displays.