Screen Technology Evolution

The last decade has seen great advances in the quality and sophistication of the screens we view on everything from TVs to smartphones and from tablets to dedicated e-readers. Naturally this has run alongside the great advances in technology itself and, in most cases, the advances have been an essential element in enabling us to make full use of the devices themselves.


Before we look at some of the specific developments of the past decade it’s worth remembering two key events in the 1980’s and 90’s that heralded the technological revolution. The first was the introduction of large screen TVs which, as they grew in size and became heavier and heavier, necessitated the development of different, lighter, screen technologies like Digital Light Processing, Liquid Crystal and Plasma displays


The second major advance was the work that a number of companies like Apple, Microsoft and IBM started to put into developing touchscreen technology and it was the latter’s Simon phone that was the first ever to use this in a practical way.


Moving on a few years, by 2007 LCD television screens had become more popular than plasma as they could be made even larger for a lower cost. Around the same time the Apple iPhone became the first smartphone to only use a touchscreen for operation and from this watershed moment all other manufacturers followed suit.


Since then there has been a steady move to increase sharpness of image and sensitivity. In the world of phones, Apple continued to lead the way with its Retina and Retina HD displays – so called because the image is so sharp that the human eye cannot see any pixelation. The increasing use of high definition in broadcast media has been accompanied by sharper and sharper resolutions, even in screens which can measure 60 inches or more.


Looking to the future, there are other obvious areas that are likely to become the focus of research and development and one of these is the way in which different screens can interact with each other. The applications for this kind of inter connectivity are almost limitless and they also tie in with the different kinds of screens that are used for different purposes.


For example someone may be using a smartphone to text a friend while watching streamed entertainment on the TV before picking up a tablet to do a spot of online shopping or to visit an online casino – but they may well want to continue all these activities on the most practical device – and screen – for the particular place and time. Therefore the technology to enable this kind of “screen-roaming” is becoming more and more important.


Naturally, this multiple use also brings some issues for companies wanting to engage the multi-screen generation. This may well drive manufacturers to further accelerate advances in order to make screens even more interactive and intuitive and encourage marketers and entertainment channels to create content that is equally engaging.

So this, along with the recent resurgence of 3D television and the ever-growing popularity of e-books – means one thing is for sure: there are many more exciting times ahead in the field of screen and display technology.


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