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Flat Screen TV: Who Really Invented It?

Welcome to the flat screen TV history class: Who Really Invented It? Uncover the truth behind the technological breakthrough.

Flat Screen TV: Who Really Invented It?

When Was the Flat Screen TV Invented?

The Era of CRT TVs

The television started as a miraculous invention, but it wasn't until the advent of color TVs in the 1960s that the market really began to boom. For many decades, black and white CRT (cathode ray tube) televisions were the only option for consumers, and they dominated the market. Despite their bulk and low resolution, they remained the primary television technology until the invention of flat screen TVs.

CRT televisions worked on the principle of an electron beam shooting at a phosphor-coated screen to create an image. They were bulky and heavy, with large tubes that made the screen size limited. Over time, engineering advancements led to more durable and larger televisions, but the thick glass screens remained a critical element.

The Emergence of Flat Screen Technology

By the early 2000s, flat screen technology had entered the market, swiftly becoming a game changer in the television industry. Flat screen technology was a significant improvement over CRT televisions in terms of picture quality, size, and portability. Flat screen TVs were substantially lighter and slimmer, and their images had a higher resolution and brighter colors. There were two primary types of Flat screen technologies; plasma display panels (PDPs) and liquid crystal displays (LCDs).

Plasma display panels use tiny glass chambers filled with neon gas and a matrix of electrodes to produce an image. The electric current passed through the gas generates UV light, which excites tiny pockets of phosphor creating various colors on the glass screen.

Liquid crystal displays (LCD), on the other hand, function through a series of light-filtering layers that display an image by selectively absorbing or reflecting light. The crystals realign through the liquid crystal layer as the electric current passes through the liquid. The polarizer filters and color filters on the front screen then shape and produce the final colorized image.

The First Production of Flat Screen TVs

The era of color CRT TVs extended from the 1960s to the late 1990s. The first flat screen TV was invented by James J. Mitchell in 1964, but it was not until the late 1990s and early 2000s that modern flat screen TVs became popular. It was in 1997 that Fujitsu developed the first commercially viable flat-screen television, the 42 inch PDP-42 Plasma Display Panel. Furthering an already enormous market, Fujitsu partnered with Hitachi creating Plasma Vision Inc., which started selling commercial PDPs in 1999.

The first LCD television appeared in 1980 by Sharp Corporation, but, due to poor image quality and high cost, they were shelved. Then in 1996, the first commercially successful product by Sharp was released, the 16 inch LL-1623, but it was outperformed as soon as Fujitsu's first plasma TV hit the market.

In 2006, Sony and Samsung revealed the first OLED (organic light-emitting diode) displays, and LG increased the market competition with its 55-inch OLED flat screen in 2012. OLED technology creates images by using organic material to emit light rather than using backlights to illuminate pixels, as in LCD and LED-based displays. The result is incredibly power-efficient, thin, and flexible displays with stunning contrast and image quality.

In conclusion, flat screen technology emerged in the 1990s and early 2000s. It was made commercially viable by Fujitsu and Hitachi's Plasma Vision Inc. with plasma display panels, and Sharp with LCD systems. Later Sony, Samsung, and LG further revolutionized the industry with OLED technology. Flat screen TVs' unique features such as high resolution, improved image quality, compact size, and portability have reshaped how television sets are designed and the consumers' experience. They have become a staple in our modern households and have outpaced the bulky CRT TVs of yesteryear.

The Evolution of Flat Screen TVs

Television has come a long way since the first mechanical televisions were invented in the late 1800s. From bulky, heavy cathode ray tube (CRT) TVs to sleek and lightweight flat-screen TVs, the evolution of television technology continues to fascinate and improve our viewing experiences year after year. In this article, we will focus on the invention of flat screen TVs and their evolution over the years.

Plasma TVs

In the late 1960s, a new technology was discovered that could be used to create a television with a flat screen. It was called plasma display technology, and it used tiny cells filled with gas that react to electrical currents to create images. Plasma TVs first hit the market in the mid-1990s and quickly became popular due to their flat screens and superior picture quality.

However, plasma TVs had one major drawback - they were expensive to produce and consumed a lot of energy, making them less environmentally friendly. As a result, plasma TVs were eventually replaced by newer, more energy-efficient technologies.


In the early 2000s, two new types of flat screen TVs hit the market: Light Emitting Diode (LED) TVs and Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) TVs. Both of these technologies use a backlight to illuminate the screen and create images. LED TVs are a type of LCD TV that use LED lights as the backlight instead of fluorescent lights, which makes them more energy-efficient and produces a brighter and more vivid image.

LED and LCD TVs quickly became the dominant flat screen technology due to their affordability, energy efficiency, and superior picture quality. They also come in a variety of sizes, from small computer monitors to large 80-inch screens, making them an ideal choice for both home and business use.


The latest innovation in flat screen technology is the Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) and Quantum Dot Light Emitting Diode (QLED) TVs. OLED TVs use organic materials such as carbon to produce light and create images instead of a backlight, making them more energy-efficient and producing richer and more accurate colors with deeper blacks. They also have a wider viewing angle, meaning you can watch TV from almost any angle without experiencing a loss in picture quality.

QLED TVs, on the other hand, use quantum dots to produce light and improve color accuracy and brightness. They also have a wider color gamut and can display a wider range of colors than OLED TVs, making them an ideal choice for watching sports or action movies.

In conclusion, the evolution of flat screen TVs has come a long way since the invention of plasma display technology in the late 1960s. From plasma TVs to LED and LCD TVs to the latest OLED and QLED TVs, each technology has its unique strengths in improving the viewing experience. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for flat screen TVs and how technology will continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of consumers.

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