Saturday, July 16, 2011

channel surfing benchmark for televisions

I have used CRT TV's all my life. Even now my TV is an old Sony CRT probably >10 years old. Since we got  cable television around 10 years ago, I have rejoiced in the freedom of many channels and have adopted a channel surfer's lifestyle. By channel surfing I mean I frequently just sit at the TV, pressing the next channel button on the remote control until I find a nice tv show. Although recently with the advent of the internet I could just look at the online TV schedule.

As an impatient channel surfer, I press the next channel button all the time. With my sony CRT tv, it takes a split second to change from one channel to another. Some of my relatives bought a cheaper model sharp 32 inch LCD tv. When I tried it I was disappointed because the time it takes for me to change the channel is appreciably longer than on my old CRT TV. I thought it was because this was a lesser known brand and/or a cheaper model. Unfortunately, I did not take any measurements. This can get annoying.

But then I was able to use a samsung 5 series 37 inch LCD TV in a 5 star hotel. It also has a delay when changing channels. With an unscientific test, 10 channel changes took 14-15 seconds. I'm no expert but samsung doesn't seem to be a lesser brand and a hotel wouldn't use cheap stuff.

This got me thinking. Is this delay an unintended consequence of LCD technology? Maybe it can be fixed if the TV manufacturers really wanted to. Maybe some people will get used to it. I don't know. But if you are a channel surfer and buying your first LCD tv, this benchmark might be nice to know. But as of now (I google around a bit), AFAIK, no one is talking about this problem so benchmarks like these might not exist.

Note: if you have a cable TV set top box, this issue is moot since the channel change speed is dependent on the set top box.

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