70+ Display Terms

Display terms are the phrases that we use to describe how something looks on a screen. They are often used in conjunction with other design elements, such as color or shape, to create an aesthetic effect. In this post, I will give you a glossary of some common display terms that you may not be familiar with and show examples of each one.

Common Display Terms

  • Sreeen Regulation: Screen regulation is the process of correcting any distortion that occurs during fabrication and ensuring a perfectly flat surface. This can be done by two methods: “self-regulating” which means it happens automatically, or manually using optical instruments to measure distortions on the screen surface when powered off then adjusting for them in software as needed.
  • RGB: RGB (Red Green Blue) is a color model in which red, green and blue are the primary colors. It constitutes one of several color models that use three “primaries” to produce all other shades as combinations of varying intensities of those three primaries.
  • Response Time: Response time refers to how fast or slow an LCD can refresh after each frame. It is measured in milliseconds and a typical display will have a response time of around 20-30ms.
  • Raster: Rasters are the individual pixels that make up an image on your screen, which can be thought of as rows across the screen or columns down the screen (since these both refer to linear arrays).
  • Pixel Clock Speed: The pixel clock speed refers to how fast each pixel refreshes when it changes from one color to another. This measurement is typically given in MHz, so higher numbers represent faster refresh rates with lower numbers representing slower ones.
  • Pixel: A single dot on your computer monitor screen made up for three RGB colors – red green blue) arranged into square shapes called “pixels”. You know, like the pictures on your phone or TV screen.
  • Positive Registration: Positive registration refers to when a person’s eye aligns with an object, but does not converge – this is in contrast to negative registration where one’s eyes are converged and do not align (I’ll explain later). This term was coined by Hermann von Helmholtz in 1867 and it belongs within binocular vision – more specifically the ocular muscle system which controls how you move your two eyeballs so that each of them look at something different while still seeing through both lenses.
  • Pincushion Distortion: Pincushion distortion is a form of image distortions present on some CRT screens caused by inaccurate shaping of the electron beam. This results in a barrel-shaped distortion of the image.
  • Plasma Display Panel – PDP: A Plasma display panel is an electronic visual display. consists of two sheets of glass with a gas between them (most commonly neon or xenon) which lights up when it receives electric current from metal wires running along each side. The brightness depends on how much voltage you apply to the metal wipers; if more voltage is applied then brighter will be your plasma screen!
  • Positive Registration: Positive registration refers to when a person’s eye aligns with an object but does not converge – this is in contrast to negative registration where one’s eyes are converged and do not align (I’ll explain later).
  • Phosphor: In a CRT display, the phosphors are what emit light when they are excited by an electron beam.
  • Passive Matrix: Active-matrix LCDs have three main components (the “active” power source) – one thin film transistor for each pixel to control how much red green or blue gets displayed; a set of data lines running across the screen so it knows which way to go; and finally a second layer with all these transistors arranged in columns rather than rows like before. Each column has only two wires coming off of it – one for the data and another to power up whichever row of transistors is needed.
  • Parallelogram Distortion: Parallelogram distortion occurs when two diagonal lines cross each other on a display screen, causing them to appear curved in an unexpected way. It may be caused by bad timing between scanning electron beams or as a result of poor design with respect to how electrons are directed across the phosphor layer inside the CRT monitor.
  • PanelLink: PanelLink was invented by Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, which makes use of its own QD-TV patents developed from 2000 onwards, for applying digital processing technologies such as video scaling and noise reduction onto some 200 progressive scan TV panels currently used at broadcasters worldwide. The technology is applied in such a way that the image will appear high quality even when it’s being displayed on an analogue TV.
  • Overscan: Overscanning (also called overscan, picture area or masking) refers to the amount of pixels outside of visible screen edges which are also lit up and scanned by CRT TVs. You cannot see this part of your display because they’re hidden behind bezel. The difference between what you can actually see versus what’s really there is about 20%. This means that for every pixel within visible range there were twenty more just out of view – all waiting to light up if something ever happened to make them necessary!
  • OLED: OLED stands for Organic Light-Emitting Diode; these are the diodes that light up to form images on a TV screen.
  • nT: nT is short for nit, which is one of three units used when measuring brightness in an image. The other two are cd/m² and lumens (cdxm).
  • Nit: Nit or “nitard”, as it’s called by some people in parts of France, comes from the Latin word meaning ‘a unit’.
  • Multiscan: A multiscan display is a setup in which the monitor can scale and position an image to fit on different screens with different resolutions.
  • Multi-Frequency: Multi-frequency scanning means that there are more than one frequency at which the electron beam scans back and forth across the screen (hence multi-frequency).
  • MPR: MPR or moving picture response time, refers to how quickly a CRT TV responds when it needs to change from one frame of video information into another. The lower this number, the better – because it indicates less blurriness during fast motion scenes like sports games where camera operators might be panning around rapidly.
  • Models: A model – sometimes called a ‘profile’ – is just what it sounds like: a profile of the response curve for the display.
  • LEP: LEP or “line equivalent power”, is an indication of how much light can be emitted by a monitor’s backlight before it becomes too bright to use comfortably. The more you turn this up, the brighter your screen will become but also may cause ‘blooming’ – when pixels that should have been lit in one colour are instead illuminated with another because they’re both next to each other on-screen (sometimes making them appear larger than they really are). This effect makes some colours look different and less vivid.
  • LED: LED stands for Light Emitting Diode; these diodes emit visible light when voltage passes through their semiconductor material.
  • Liquid Crystal Display – LCD: The liquid crystal display (LCD) is a type of flat-panel technology used in TVs, monitors and other electronic displays such as computer screens. It works by controlling how light passes through the liquid crystals to produce picture elements or ‘pixels’.
  • Jitter: Jitter refers to small variations in one axis that can cause an image on screen to look different when it’s being viewed from a certain angle. This happens because some pixels are lit at slightly different times than others – so they might show up too bright, or not quite right against their neighbours.
  • Invar: Invar stands for iron varnish which is what TV manufacturers use as insulation inside cathode ray tubes to protect the electron gun and its associated parts from the extremely high voltages that are used.
  • Interlaced: This refers to a video signal where there are two pictures (fields) per frame, one containing every other line of information – so each picture represents just 50% of what is shown on screen at any given time.
  • HSF: HSF stands for ‘Half-Sinusoidal Frequency’ which means it’s a scanning frequency pattern in which all lines have some common property – such as alternating brightness or colour between screens.
  • Ghosting: Ghosting refers to an effect caused by fast motion scenes when different images start appearing during rapid movement because your eyes can’t process them quickly enough. You’ll often see this in sports footage where players are moving around the screen.
  • FST: FST or Frame Sequential Technology refers to a way of displaying images on LCD screens by using three different displays, each one showing either red, green or blue information in turn.
  • Footlambert: Foot lambert is just another word for ‘footcandles’. One footlambert equals about ten times the intensity of a one-candela light source.
  • Flat Panel Display: A flat panel display is any type of modern TV or monitor that isn’t the old cathode ray tube (CRT) technology, such as LCDs and OLED displays.
  • FED: FED stands for ‘Field Emission Display’ – which was an early attempt at creating a next generation plasma screen by using tiny electron guns inside each pixel to create images on demand. It’s not in production anymore but it can still be found in some older TVs around!
  • Energy Star: Energy Star refers to a voluntary standard aimed at reducing energy consumption across all types of appliances from computers and printers through microwaves and vacuum cleaners – so there are now many different versions with different levels of performance.
  • Electron Beam: The electron beam is used in LCDs to produce picture elements or ‘pixels’.
  • EDP: EDP stands for Extended Data Stream which defines a system where there are two separate data streams being transmitted back and forth – one containing the video signal, while the other contains commands such as changing channels or adjusting volume. This allows TVs with EDP enabled to respond faster than without it!
  • Dynamic Focus: Dynamic focus refers to a feature on most modern sets that’s designed to keep pictures sharp at different viewing angles by using an auto-focus function built into each pixel. This means you can watch from any angle (including corners) and see clear images instead of having them gradually get fuzzy like they would on older sets.
  • Double-layer SuperTwist Nematic – DSTN: Double-layer supertwist nematic is a type of LCD technology used in some TVs, which uses two layers of liquid crystals that twist at different rates to produce colour and contrast – one layer can be set for slower or faster twisting to change the degree of light passing through it and create blacker colours like darker greys.
  • DPMS: DPMS stands for Display Power Management Signaling – this adds support for dynamic power saving features where displays will automatically reduce their brightness based on what they’re displaying such as menus vs watching video content. This feature isn’t commonly activated by default so you might need to look out for a setting within your display to turn it on.
  • Dot Trio: Dot trio is another name for what’s called a ‘subpixel’. This refers to the three coloured dots you can see in any single pixel (red, green and blue), which are used when producing images with an LCD screen or LED TV. The dot trio concept comes from early CRT TVs where individual phosphors were arranged into groups of three – one for each colour.
  • DMD: DMD stands for Digital Micromirror Device – this is essentially just a tiny mirror that creates all the pixels within your picture by reflecting light from different angles in order to produce colours! When digital video became popularized many people didn’t want multiple bulky cathode ray tubes sitting around their living rooms so manufacturers created the DMD to replace them.
  • Deflection Yoke: The deflection yoke is a metal coil that’s placed on top of your TV set and helps control the electron beam which creates each individual pixel within an image.
  • Degaussing: Degaussing refers to a process where magnets are adjusted in order to counteract any magnetic fields inside your monitor or TV – this can help eliminate issues with purity, clarity and colour from the display as well as reduce interference when two sets are too close together.
  • DDC: DDC stands for Display Data Channel – it’s designed to transfer information between devices such as TVs and computers without using standard video cables like HDMI etc., instead relying on communication over a single cable to send all that data back and forth.
  • D-SUB Connector: D-sub connectors are a type of connector used on TVs or displays for connecting cables like the power cord, VGA input etc., they’re often seen as a ‘male’ port while female ports (called receptacles) typically take HDMI inputs instead.
  • CSTN: CSTN stands for Cassette Tape Storage – it’s an early TV technology that was first developed in 1969 by engineers from RCA and Westinghouse but never really took off due to its slow response time! Since then other display technologies have taken over such as LCDs or LED screens which use arrays of lights rather than lines of dots behind liquid crystals.
  • CRT – Cathode Ray Tube: Cathode ray tubes are the most common type of TV display seen in homes and offices which work by shooting electrons towards a screen that’s covered with an array of dots, called phosphors. Each dot is lit up individually to produce colour in tandem with the electron beam as it passes over them on its way back from the screen.
  • Convergence: Convergence refers to how all our various screens will eventually come together – this means moving away from having separate devices for entertainment such as TVs or computers etc., instead relying on one single device for everything!
  • Composite Video: Composite video input isn’t just used for connecting your VCR anymore, but also modern day capture cards like those you might use when streaming online or recording gameplay footage. It’s a type of signal that combines brightness and colour information into one single video stream in order to produce an image with the maximum possible resolution, even though it might seem fuzzy or blurry at times due to its low quality.
  • Colour Temperature: Color temperature is the measurement of which colours look less natural for our eyes and can be used to describe how warm or cool a particular color will appear. Technically, it’s measured in Kelvin degrees but despite that, many people refer to it as being either “cool” (bluer tones) or “warm” (redder/yellow-ish colors).
  • Cathode: The cathode is just the name given to one end of an electronic device like your TV screen where any electrons are created before they’re shot at the screen itself! It’s also worth mentioning that if you have issues with purity then this may be because your electron beam isn’t shooting straight across – instead maybe going too high, low etc., so this could be caused by interference from magnetic fields or some other cause.
  • Candela: Candelas measure how bright an object is in terms of lumens, which are also used to describe the brightness of light bulbs such as fluorescent tubes for example.
  • BNC Connector: BNC stands for Bayonet Neill-Concelman and it’s a type of coaxial connector that has been most commonly seen on TV cables like those carrying composite video signals but can be found elsewhere too – they’re characterised by their two metal pins (male) with a threaded barrel (female) where you insert the cable into them. They’re often called “coax connectors” because one pin handles either signal while the other will handle the ground.
  • Blooming: Blooming is when your TV screen has a bright spot that spreads out across more of the display as it’s getting brighter and this can be caused by some interference from other sources, for example if you have an antennae nearby then there may be intermittent noise being picked up!
  • Bifringence: Birefringence refers to how light travelling through certain media (such as glass or plastic) will split into two different waves – one refracted while another reflected at 90 degrees to each other. It’s often used in LCDs which use polarizing filters to control how much birefringence happens so that people watching them aren’t bothered too much by ghosting effects like double images or rainbow effects.
  • Bezel: Bezels are the frame around your TV screen and they’re designed to add a sense of depth or scale, for example if you were looking at an old movie then one way that would be done is by adding borders on all sides so that it looks smaller than life!
  • Barrel Distortion: Barrel distortion happens when the lens has been stretched out longer than it should’ve – causing objects in photos to appear as though their widths have increased more along the top edge while thinning down on the bottom part. It’s often because someone wanted to take a photo but didn’t use a tripod which causes things like camera shake etc., resulting in this type of effect.
  • Backlight: The backlight refers to the light that illuminates your TV screen from behind and it’s common in LCDs because they don’t have a backlight like TVs do – instead they use a layer of squishy liquid crystals which emit their own light to show you what you’re watching.
  • Autoscan: An autoscan is another word for auto-tuning, where your antennae will scan through all available channels on digital TV so that it can find those with an HD feed or other high quality signal – then lock onto them! It doesn’t really matter too much if you see this happen but for some people it may be helpful as well since there are no channels stored yet so not everything might be showing up at first.
  • Astigmatism: Astigmatism is a visual impairment where the eye can’t focus on anything in particular and it’s most common with nearsightedness or farsightedness – which are also known as myopia and hypermetropia respectively.
  • Aspect Ratio: The aspect ratio of your TV screen refers to how wide it is versus how tall and this determines what size everything will be when you’re watching something – for example if there was a scene that had an infinite horizon then you might see more detail at the top, bottom etc., whereas otherwise things would look squished together.
  • Aperture Grille: An aperture grille has been used extensively for televisions because they deliver powerful images without needing too much power since they use cold cathode tubes which are more efficient than a hot cathode.
  • Ambient Light Sensor: An ambient light sensor helps your TV screen to sense how bright the room is and it’ll adjust its backlight accordingly so that you’re not looking at something too dark or washed out. You may also notice when this happens because there might be an indicator on the lower part of your display – such as if it’s pulsing then this means that it’s adjusting itself according to different levels of brightness in the environment, while if the indicator stays one colour then there hasn’t been any change yet even after some time has passed!
  • Active Matrix: Active matrixes are where each pixel will have a transistor for switching purposes and they were improved from passive matrices because they removed the need for a separate matrix of wires which is why this type became more popular.
  • HTPS: HTP stands for Hyper Twisted Pixel and it’s where each pixel has been twisted 90 degrees so that you might see some interesting visual effects when scrolling through pages or watching movies – it can show things like twisting scenes, animated textures etc., because everything will move in one direction while then being mirrored to go back again!
  • Unbalanced Pin: Unbalance pins are also known as non-symmetrical pins and these have two different lengths on either side of them – typically 0.38″ (or about nine millimeters) but with many variations according to preference since their goal was what used to be called “delayed high” or “delayed low” respective.
  • Trapezoidal Distortion: Trapezoidal distortion can happen when a screen has been distorted due to being stretched in one direction and it’s most common with CRTs – which are also called Cathode Ray Tubes, since they’re the type of TV that was used before flat screens became popular.
  • Twisted Nematic – TN: Twisted nematics are a type of liquid crystal where the molecules have been twisted 90 degrees so that they might be able to show different colours – in this case three primary ones. They’re also known as Biaxial and these types were invented by Edmund Linley, who was working for an American company called EMI.
  • Thin Film Transistor – TFT: Thin film transistors (TFTs) are also sometimes called amorphous silicon displays and you’ll usually see them on laptop screens but some may still use these because they’re more energy efficient than LED backlit displays which is another popular kind. These hd tv reviews can help with finding out what’s available on the market.
  • Stripe Pitch: Stripe pitch refers to how close together the pixels lines are when you’re looking at something from an angle – if they’re closer then this means that there might be some distortion whereas further apart would mean more detail but with less resolution.
  • Streaking: Streaking can happen if your screen has been damaged by sunlight during its lifetime and this will show as lines of colour that you might see if you’re looking at the screen from a certain angle.
  • Slotted Mask: Slotted masks are also sometimes called slits or slots and these are able to help your display by reducing external light sources in much the same way as sunglasses do for human eyes – so it’ll be easier to read something on the screen without straining your eyes!
  • Shadow Mask: Shadow masks were used many years ago because they helped reduce glare but now other types have come out which make them less popular nowadays than before, although still some brands may use these screens with older models due to price difference between new ones.

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