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Does China Have the Best Digital Television Standard on the Planet?

China's new digital television broadcasts deliver a high-definition picture to the living room--and the reception won't break up on moving trains and buses, either

8 min read

The United States established its national standard for terrestrial broadcasts of high-definition digital television, known as ATSC (for Advanced Television Systems Committee), in 1996. The European Union settled on its standard, Digital Video Broadcast-Terrestrial, or DVB-T, in 1997. Japan developed its Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting-Terrestrial (ISDB-T) in the 1980s and adopted it in 2003. But China just finalized its digital television standard in late 2006, beginning transmission with last summer’s Beijing Olympics.

Being late in this particular game is not necessarily a bad thing. It allowed China to take advantage of advances in information-coding technologies that make digital television in China—unlike that in the rest of the world—work well even in bad weather. These technologies mean that China’s digital television can be viewed on the go; it won’t break up even at 200 kilometers per hour—you can watch a broadcast on a cellphone while sitting on a high-speed train. (The United States is only now trying to retrofit its digital-television standard for mobile reception.)

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Digging Into the New QD-OLED TVs

Formerly rival technologies have come together in Samsung displays

5 min read
Television screen displaying closeup of crystals

Sony's A95K televisions incorporate Samsung's new QD-OLED display technology.

Televisions and computer monitors with QD-OLED displays are now on store shelves. The image quality is—as expected—impressive, with amazing black levels, wide viewing angles, a broad color gamut, and high brightness. The products include:

All these products use display panels manufactured by Samsung but have their own unique display assembly, operating system, and electronics.

I took apart a 55-inch Samsung S95B to learn just how these new displays are put together (destroying it in the process). I found an extremely thin OLED backplane that generates blue light with an equally thin QD color-converting structure that completes the optical stack. I used a UV light source, a microscope, and a spectrometer to learn a lot about how these displays work.

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