Whats Contrast Ratio?


Established Member
Does it matter when buying a new LCD TV? I've seen 800:1 and 1200:1.

Is there a big difference?


Standard Member
Contrast ratio is the ratio of light emitted by a full white part of the screen to that emitted by a full 'black' part of the screen. The higher the contrast ratio, the blacker the 'black' parts of the screen will look. CRT sets have the highest contrast ratio since black is when no electrons hit the phosphor; in an LCD there is still some light leakage at a 'black' pixel from the backlight.

The contrast ratio quoted is for a full white screen to a full black screen. It's a little artificial since there is normally some white in normal video content. A better ratio is called ANSI contrast, which is the ratio 8 black squares to 8 white squares arranged in a checkerboard layout. However, this is rarely used since the number is a lot lower and its more difficult to get a system with high number. You may see it quoted by projector manufacturers.

Basically, go for the highest number you can get.


Distinguished Member
Note: Manufacturers know contrast ratio sells, so they lie :mad:

Or rather they use methods/means to achieve the advertised contrast which is meaningless.

This would be fine, if (basically) they all lied the same, but they don't, so it's almost impossible to compare.

Like with LCD Projectors, they give stupid contrast ratios which just are not true when using the item and measuring it.

One other thing. Don't assume it means darker blacks, it can also mean the black are the same, but brighter whites instead.

A whole can of worms really.


Prominent Member

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