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Definition: flat panel TV

Today's thin, digital, wide-screen high-definition TV (HDTV). Most flat panel TVs are self-contained with a tuner and speakers that can receive over-the-air broadcasts. A few models are only monitors, which are display screens that require content from a set-top box or movie streamer.

LCD and OLED are the primary technologies. LED TVs are actually LCD TVs with an LED backlight. See LED TV and OLED.

HD Resolutions
The common flat panel TV is 1080p (2K) or 2160p (4K). However, smaller sets may be 720p. Although Blu-ray supports 1080p or 2160p, TV and cable channels broadcast in the lower 720p and 1080i resolutions. It is difficult to tell the difference on smaller sets. 4K TVs have become the norm, and 8K TVs have emerged. See DTV, HDTV, 4K TV and 8K TV.

Fond of Vintage Content?
If you watch standard definition (SD) content such as DVDs and VHS tapes, all HDTVs are not the same. The TV upconverts SD content to the higher resolution, and some sets do a better job than others.

Size Makes a Difference
Whether SD or HD, an enormous amount of complex processing takes place, and the larger the screen, the more pixelation and other visual artifacts are noticeable. It takes a high-quality 65" TV to look as good as a low-end 32" set, and even more so with an 80" TV (see deinterlace, cadence correction and dynamic noise reduction).

Wall Mounting
Although all flat panel TVs can be wall mounted, models 40" and above require a strong support. The wall bracket must be bolted into the studs of sheetrock and plaster walls. See HDTV display modes, upconvert, aspect ratio, Blu-ray, home theater and rear-projection TV.