Liquid-crystal display (LCD) has become the world’s most popular display technology — and for good reason. It’s energy efficient, long-lasting, supports high-definition (HD) resolutions and can be customized in a variety of sizes. Not all LCDs are the same, however. While they all share the aforementioned properties, they are available in different types. If you’re planning to buy an LCD in the near future, you should consider the five following things.

#1) Active vs Passive Matrix

LCDs can be classified as either active matrix or passive matrix depending on their construction. Passive-matrix LCDs feature a grid of electrical wires, whereas active-matrix LCDs use a different construction. You can expect to pay less for a passive-matrix LCD. With that said, active-matrix LCDs typically offer a wider color gamut as well as faster response times.

#2) Backlighting

You can’t choose an LCD without considering the backlighting. All LCDs require backlighting. Unlike organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), LCDs don’t have self-illuminating pixels. Rather, they rely on backlighting to illuminate their respective pixels. Two of the most common backlighting technologies for LCDs include cold-cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) and light-emitting diode (LED).

#3) Native Resolution

When choosing an LCD, pay attention to the native resolution. Native resolution is the fixed number of pixels the LCD has. Like most displays, LCDs have rows and columns of pixels. The total number of pixels within the pixel layer is represented by its native resolution. LCDs with higher native resolution contain more pixels than those with a lower native resolution, resulting in clearer and more detailed images.

#4) Aspect Ratio

In addition to native resolution, you should consider the aspect ratio when choosing an LCD. The aspect ratio is the relative size of an LCD’s viewport. It’s the ratio of the viewport’s width to its height. The most common aspect ratio for LCDs is 16:9. Nearly all LCD TVs, for instance, now feature a 16:9 aspect ratio. If you’re purchasing a different type of LCD, such as a tablet or human machine interface (HMI), you may want to choose a different aspect ratio.

#5) Contrast Ratio

Don’t forget to consider the contrast ratio when choosing an LCD. Contrast ratio is the difference between a display’s light and dark colors. It’s essentially the range at which a display can produce colored images. A high contrast ratio means the LCD will produce a wider range of colors, whereas a low contrast ratio means the LCD will produce a narrower and more limited range of colors.