When did flat-screen TVs become mainstream? (History of Flat TV)

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Do you know when did flat-screen TVs become mainstream? Consumers are discovering that curved screen televisions with cathode ray tube technology are being replaced with flat-screen versions after decades of use. Due to their excellent picture quality and small size, flat-screen TVs have quickly taken over the market since their launch in the late 1990s. The manufacturing technology for these sets has fast advanced to provide ever-larger screens and a better viewing experience.

When did flat-screen TVs become mainstream
1998 Flat-screen TV

When did flat-screen TVs become mainstream?

In the first decade of the 21st century, LCD TV sales increased, and, in 2007, they surpassed those of cathode ray tube televisions globally. Following that, sales of CRT TVs, as well as those of rival technologies like plasma display panels and rear-projection television, gradually decreased.

Early History of TV

In July 1964, a group at the University of Illinois created the first flat-screen TV. The school’s computers at the time were constructed using standard computer monitors, which relied on outdated hardware for computer graphics. Professors Donald Bitzer and Gene Slottow developed a plasma-powered flat-screen television to solve this issue.

LCD Technology

Following the creation of the first flat screen display in the 1960s, manufacturers started to choose liquid crystal displays over plasma technology (LCDs). At the time, LCD screens could be operated more effectively and manufactured far larger than plasma screens. Ironically, the creation of LCD televisions would cause a significant delay in the adoption of real flat panels as these new TVs are energy-efficient.

The Sharp/Sony Collaboration

The Sony and Sharp Corporations agreed in 1996 to form a joint venture to make giant flat-screen TVs. There were flat LCD screens at the time, but they could only be a few inches wide. Sony held the trademark for a technology known as Plasma-Addressed LCDs (PALC), which combined LCD and plasma screens to produce a superior picture. Because Sharp was the industry leader in TV production, Sony shared this technology with Sharp.

The First Flat Screen TV

The first big flat-screen TV was introduced in 1997 by Sharp and Sony. Its size of 42 inches, a then-record, was produced utilizing the PALC technology. The price of the initial model, which was above $15,000, put it out of the reach of the majority of Americans. Manufacturers quickly learned that PALC technology was unreliable and too expensive for widespread usage, so they switched to plasma.

Prices for plasma flat screens steadily decreased over the following ten years as technology advanced. At the same time, scientists started trying to figure out how to make LCD screens more practical. Early in the twenty-first century, producers made LCD flat screens up to 30 inches in size and plasma TVs up to 50 inches.

Changing Technology

By 2006, LCD flat-screen transistor technology had advanced to the point where it could feasibly compete with plasma displays. Up to 42-inch LCDs were sold that year, and there was essentially no price difference between LCD and plasma models of this size.

Plasma producers added the 103-inch displays to maintain their strong market share. By August 2009, plasma displays made up only 12% of TV sales, with LCD flat screens dominating the industry.

Because LCD televisions were brighter and more effective than plasma, many people chose them. LCD TVs were substantially thinner than plasma TVs because they used a less complex technology. However, plasma remained the most popular option for really large TVs.


Sony Bravia Smart LCD TV
ImageCredit: electronics.sony.com

So, when did flat-screen TVs become mainstream? Although many think of flat-screen TVs as new technology, this doesn’t seem right. In truth, flat-panel televisions have been around for a long time before becoming popularized by high-definition and Blu-ray DVD content. The 1960s saw the invention of flat-screen televisions. In July 1964, the first flat-screen television prototype was created. Later that year, the invention would be made widely known.

Frequently Asked Questions

In 2000, how much did a flat-screen TV cost?

According to Walter Miao, senior vice president of Access Media International, even if prices drop as analysts anticipate, flat TVs would still cost $6,500 by 2000 and $2,000 by 2003. In contrast, 95% of all sets sold in the $8 billion U.S. television market are under 27 inches wide and less than $1,000.

What did TVs look like before flat screens?

Flat-panel displays nearly completely replaced CRT “picture tube” technology globally in the first ten years of the twenty-first century. By the beginning of the decade, LCD TVs—which progressively used LCDs with LED backlights—represented the vast majority of televisions produced.

When did TVs become common?

At the New York World’s Fair in 1939, the first functional TV sets were displayed and offered for sale to the general public.

When did the majority of homes get a TV?

By 1951, there were almost 12 million televisions in use, up from 6,000 in 1946. Black and white television sets were the inventions that made their way into American households the quickest; by 1955, half of all American houses had one.

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