Liquid-crystal display (LCD) has become one of the market’s leading display technologies. It lives up to its namesake by featuring liquid crystals that are illuminated with a backlight to produce images. Commonly found in TVs, computer monitors, smartphone displays and portable video game consoles, it’s a versatile and powerful display technology. But if you’re planning to invest in an LCD device, you should familiar with the following terms and their respective definitions.

Image Burn-In

When researching the benefits of LCD, you’ll probably discover that it’s protected from image burn-in. So, what is image burn-in exactly? This refers to a problem with certain types of displays in which a static image becomes permanent on the display. In a normal and working display device, images are only present for a short period of time, after which it changes to whatever is being watched or played by the user. While CRT displays are susceptible to image burn-in, however, LCDs are not. This is because, unlike CRTs, LCDs don’t contain phosphorus compounds, so there’s little or no risk of image burn-in.

Blue Phase Mode

While not in mass production (yet), some LCDs feature a special mode known as blue phase mode. Basically, blue phase mode is a new technology that allows for significantly faster switching times. With blue phase mode, LCDs can achieve switching times of just 1 millisecond. This allows for “time sequential color control,” thereby reducing or eliminating the need for color filters. Blue phase mode is still experimental, however, so you won’t find it offered in most store-bought LCDs.


All LCDs are designed with an embedded component that illuminates the liquid crystals. Known as a backlight, it’s one of the most important components in an LCD. Backlights used in LCDs are typically either CCFL or LED. In the past, CCFL backlights were most common. In recent years, though, LED has become the preferred choice of backlighting technology for LCDs because of its energy-efficient properties.


Like most other display technologies, LCDs have a specific resolution that reflects how many pixels it features. In a typical LCD, there are rows and columns of pixels that form a grid-like array. Within each pixel are three individual “sub pixels,” including red, blue and green. The more pixels an LCD features, the sharper and more detailed its image.

In-Plane Switching

In-plane switching refers to a unique type of LCD technology that eliminates the otherwise restricting properties of the twisted nematic field effect by switching the way in which the liquid crystals are arranged.