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Cook County Lawyers

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There are over 40,000 practicing lawyers in Cook County – more than in the rest of the state combined. This number includes attorneys specializing in practically all conceivable types of law, in a variety of settings. Below is a bit more information on where and how these lawyers operate and some of the biggest practice areas.

Key Locations

The Daley Center is the main courthouse for Cook County; it is also the courthouse for the County’s 1st District. Most civil cases and traffic cases are held inside, along with many other suits. There are 5 other Cook County Districts, each with its own courthouse. The courthouses are in the following locations: Skokie (2nd District), Rolling Meadows (3rd District), Maywood (4th District), Bridgeview (5th District) and Markham (6th District). If you live in the suburbs, your case may be heard your local district courthouse, but many claims are still heard at the Daley Center, in particular most of those involving over $100,000.

It is best to hire an attorney who has experience both with your specific legal issue and familiarity with the courthouse where your case has been filed. In addition to understanding your case, this type of lawyer may know some of the judges and attorneys who you will be dealing with during your lawsuit. This lawyer will be best equipped to present your case in a way that gives you the best chance of winning.

Payment

Lawyers in Cook County vary widely in the amount and types of fees that they charge for their services. Some lawyers work on contingency which means you don’t have to pay any fee to the lawyer unless he or she gets a financial award or settlement for you. The lawyer will then earn a percentage of the monetary amount, often 30%. Certain areas of law are not allowed to be taken on contingency, though, such as criminal and divorce cases. Lawyers working on these cases will probably charge a retainer, which is the fee to officially hire the lawyer. You will most likely also pay an hourly rate for the time the lawyer spends working on your case, although sometimes you can negotiate to pay a flat fee for all of the legal work up front. The amount of the retainer and hourly fee will depend on the law firm the lawyer works for and what type of case you have.

Personal Injury

Most lawsuits arising out of accidents, like car accidents or slip-and-fall cases, are personal injury suits. These cases are also known as tort cases. Tort cases are assigned to two Divisions in Cook County, Law Division and Civil Division. Tort cases for more than $30,000 are assigned to the Law Division and are usually heard at the Daley Center, although smaller cases may be heard in the suburban District courthouses. Smaller cases are assigned to the Civil Division. These smaller cases usually end up in arbitration where the parties try to reach an agreement that works for both sides.

Criminal

In criminal cases, you will always be opposing the government in your case, and you may face jail time if you lose. Criminal cases are heard in all 6 of the Cook County District courthouses, and in additional Cook County courthouses as well. For instance, most felony cases (like murder or weapons charges) occur at the courthouse located at 26th Street & California. These cases are the most serious and most likely to result in jail time. Lesser criminal charges are typically held in the nearest District courthouse. As with all practice areas, it is very important to hire an attorney who has won cases involving the same crime you are charged with in Cook County, in order to try to avoid penalties.

Medical Malpractice

Almost all medical malpractice cases in Cook County are filed at the Daley Center. Most Cook County attorneys that specialize in medical malpractice are located in Chicago as a result, but will work with individuals from throughout Illinois.

Worker’s Compensation

All workers’ compensation claims are heard at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission which is located in the Thompson Center. The Thompson Center is located in downtown Chicago, near the Daley Center. This is true if you are injured on the job in Cook County, or you are injured working outside Cook County but your company is based here or you were hired here. Again, most lawyers in this area practice out of Chicago due to its proximity to the Thompson Center, but they will work will all clients who need their services.

Divorce and Family Law

Divorce cases can be heard at the courthouses in Chicago, Skokie, Rolling Meadows, Markham and Maywood. However, the Daley center is the main divorce courthouse and hears the most cases. The location of the divorce proceedings is determined by the person who originally files the case; however the other party can apply to have the case transferred to another courthouse. Divorce and family law attorneys are located throughout Cook County.

Probate

All Cook County probate (will, trust and estate issues) are heard at the Daley Center, this includes people who were residents of Cook County when they passed away, even if their family members don’t live in the area. Many Cook County probate lawyers are located in Chicago, but some will practice out of suburban locations and travel into Daley Center when necessary.

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Why To Select Reliable CCTV Camera Dealers To Protect Premises

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Video surveillance confers multiple benefits to all those business professionals for whom their business’ security is of prime concern. They not only help in protecting outside break-ins and robberies, but also play a vital role in sustaining business premises to make it a safer place to work. Therefore, it’s better to hire security services offered by reliable CCTV camera dealers to yield high returns on investments. Let’s delve into details for more.

Reduces Employee Thefts:

It’s hard to believe that a company’s employees can actually steal business confidential details for their own benefits, but surprisingly it happens frequently. In accordance to the latest surveys, approx 80% of employees involve in such kind of activities. Thus, if businesses want to catch those culprits to reclaim their business assets safe and secure, then they need to install CCTV surveillance security solutions in their premises. When employees know they are under camera observations, then they will think twice before taking such big risks.

Offer Workflow Monitoring:

Are you willing to check whether your employees actually work for 9-hour shifts, or if they are spending their time in doing something waste? Workflow monitoring is not employed just to record theft measures within an organization. Additionally, CCTV camera installation practices in a workplace help management to take all needed measures to motivate employees for boosting their efficiency aspects. Workflow monitoring performed with the help of a high-tech IP camera helps retail owners to judge whether they are under or over staff. However, such retail security solutions also assist retailers to understand their operation model in a better way.

Provide a Safer Workplace:

Employees’ protection is equally important as business protection. Thus, it’s necessary to mount security cameras at entrances, exits, parking lots, office premises, warehouses, and cafeteria to create a safer working environment for employees. These security tactics don’t help in preventing vandalism, robbery, burglary, vehicle break-ins, but also helps in ensuring fire smoke heat detection practices. However, services conferred by a trustworthy IP camera dealer plays a significant role to reduce unwanted criminal activities that may happen in an office premises or any other location.

Helps in Avoiding Frivolous Lawsuits:

A camera’s ability to evade businesses from frivolous lawsuit incidents is one among the biggest reasons why most of the business professionals are moving towards security camera installation practices. On the other hand, security cameras efficiently play the role of an active deterrent in against of such type of criminal activities. However, physical fights between employees or harassment claims can also initiate lawsuits incidents. But, CCTV camera dealers will efficiently play an integral role in protecting businesses and employees as well.

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Crystal Healing – How to Use Quartz Healing Crystals

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What are healing crystals? They are crystals, a pair of Clear Quartz Crystals that are used to detox and heal your emotional, mental, physical bodies, your Aura and the Ethereal energy field. They can be used alone or in conjunction with other crystals and minerals.

What do these crystals do? These special crystals enable the user to direct pure Divine Energy into and through their physical body. Using crystals is a natural way to enhance the body’s own healing capability, to process energy at a higher rate of vibration.

Before you can begin using Clear Quartz Healing Crystals during healing sessions, it is essential to choose or allow the crystals to choose you. One of the best ways to discern which healing crystals are the right ones for you to be working with is to be open the vibrational frequency of the crystals themselves.

If you are lucky enough to find crystals already in pairs, most of the “work” has been done for you. You simply “ask” which set of crystals resonate with you. How would you discern which ones are the right ones for you? Calm yourself, breathe deeply exhaling slowly and pass your left hand slowly over each set. The crystals which radiate a warmth or distinct sense of energy into the palm of your hand are the ones which resonate with you and your energy best.

If you are unsure if what you are sensing or feeling is real, hold the crystals in the palms of your hands. Remember the point of the crystal in your left hand should be directed towards your wrist. The point of the crystal in your right hand is to be directed towards your fingers away from your wrist.

It is important for the Quartz Healing Crystals to be held in each hand with the points both facing towards and away from you, allowing energy to flow through you. When working with a set of healing crystals, you become a channel, a conduit for Divine Energy to flow in to and out of your physical body. If the points are both facing away or towards you it blocks the natural flow.

Once you have chosen which crystals you will work with. Cleanse and re-charge the crystals prior to using them for the first time. To cleanse and re-charge your crystals, rinse them in cool water, pass them over incense or place them in the Sun light for a few hours.

Now you are ready to begin using your Healing Crystals. Quiet your mind, hold your crystals in your hands, breathe deeply exhaling slowly and speak the Invocation of Light 3 times. You may speak it aloud or silently to yourself. The Invocation of Light is: I invoke the Spark if Divinity within, I am a clear and perfect channel, Light is my guide.

You will begin to feel a soft tingling vibration at first. It may take a little practice for you to actually feel or sense the energy from the crystals flowing though you. Whether you feel or sense the energy of the crystals flowing through you right away or not, trust that it is happening.

The healing crystal in your left hand draws in pure energy from Divine Source. As the energy flows in to, through and out of your right hand, it takes with it all that is no longer needed. Meaning, as you open yourself to Divine Source, allowing Divine White Light to flow through you, all negative energy that has been collected, stored and become stagnant is purged from within you and your Aura.

Remember your Aura is a direct reflection of what is and is not happening in your physical body.

You can perform this simple self-healing technique on yourself by laying down, sitting in your mediation chair or standing up with your feet shoulder width apart.

You may choose to allow yourself at least 10 to 15 minutes the first few times you practice this crystal healing technique. As you become comfortable, gaining confidence in you, you will begin to notice how differently your body feels. You will begin to feel and experience harmony and peacefulness more often and for longer periods of time.

When you have completed your self-healing session, cleanse and re-charge the crystals. It is essential to increase your intake of water over the next 24 hours to complete your inner detox and healing process.

This simple crystal healing technique is very effective. Working with crystals will enhance your daily life and expand your sense of conscious awareness.

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What Is VPSDeploy & How Does It Work To Provision "Cloud" VPS Servers Across Modern Providers?

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VPSDeploy is a new web platform designed to provide users with the ability to “deploy” web based applications to a number of different “cloud” VPS servers.

The system was originally designed to support “Ruby on Rails” application deployments, with an underlying application designed to provide users with a “one click” solution to getting their applications deployed.

Since the popularity of the system has grown, it’s branched out into the provision of a number of other services, including the likes of database provision and CDN integration.

The point of the service is that if you’re looking to utilize the MASSIVE wave of new compute resource that has been provided by way of the “cloud” service providers (Microsoft Azure, AWS, Rackspace, DigitalOcean etc) – you need a way to provision the servers you’re using.

Contrary to popular belief, you’re basically paying for a distributed VPS server running on 1000’s of servers in different data warehouses. The VPS’s you run will still require the installation of an underlying OS (Linux or Windows) and will also need the various libraries / applications necessary to get those systems working properly (typically the likes of web server software etc).

Whilst “deployment” services exist already (from the likes of Nanobox), the big issue they have is they are entirely focused on providing “per app” functionality. This means that you’re basically getting a system that deals with the provisioning of a single application – running on as many servers as required.

It has been created to provide server-centric software capabilities – allowing users to deploy as many apps as they want onto their server infrastructure. It works very similarly to the “shared” hosting we all know and love (which basically has a single server box with 1,000’s of user accounts on it).

How It Works

Its core is a vast API integration system which allows it to integrate directly into the various “cloud” VPS providers. Companies like Microsoft, Rackspace, DigitalOcean and others all provide simple API’s which gives the application the ability to connect to a user’s account on their provider of choice, and set up servers as required.

This capacity gives the application the ability to create, manage and provision a multitude of different servers on different providers. For example, if you wanted to guide UK traffic to an AWS-powered server cluster, you’d be able to do set that up in conjunction to the German traffic’s Hetzner cluster.

To get this working, the system also includes an “endpoint manager” – which basically helps people visualize their DNS setup. The DNS is essentially your domain names – they point users to different web servers.

Whilst the DNS side of things has been taken care of before, VPSDeploy’s endpoint manager is the first to provide a visual experience – backed by the ability to manage the various public-facing “endpoints” that a user may wish to use.

Regardless of how the system manages the various infrastructure you may have, the point is that it actually deploys a “stack” to each VPS you may want to deploy. This “stack” basically installs all the software that gets a server operating for the “web”, and thus means that if you’re looking to deploy applications to your server infrastructure, you’ll be able to tap into the GIT repositories established by the system, and the underlying libraries it will have installed – all via SSH (so it’s able to do it across a number of different providers).

Is It Effective?

The most important thing to remember is that it is not a replacement for cloud VPS provision; it’s a way to manage it.

The way in which the system is able to help you visualize, manage and optimize the various applications & servers you have running is one of the most effective systems that a developer may wish to use to deploy their applications.

Whilst running web based applications / services on “cloud” VPS infrastructure is not a necessity, it’s certainly one of the most extensible and modular ways to get up and running in a production capacity.

Why Would You Need It?

The main benefit of using the system is the way in which it allows you to manage your own infrastructure.

The way the “web” works is exactly the same as your home network (computer systems networked together) – except we have a huge system called the DNS which basically allows us to mask a huge amount of infrastructure behind “domain” names.

Domain names allow us to manage exactly what shows to a client when they want to access a particular service or content. This works well, BUT has a major issue in the sense that if you want to provide your *own* infrastructure (beyond “shared” or “dedicated” hosting), there is presently no way to do it.

The introduction of the many “cloud” VPS providers basically provided us with the capacity to determine exactly what our infrastructure looks like – without having to purchase / rent expensive hardware.

The only problem presently is that if you’re going to go down the “cloud” route, you need to ensure you actually have a way to both manage your infrastructure *and* (if necessary) determine exactly how that infrastructure is going to work cross-provider.

Other Solutions

If you are looking at moving (or adopting) to a cloud-centric infrastructure, you’ll be best placed looking at a number of different services which are able to help provision servers across the various providers.

Some of the more pertinent are Nanobox and Hatchbox – the latter being specifically for Ruby on Rails. Nanobox works very similarly to Heroku, except it’s able to deploy to a number of different services, and is very dependable.

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Free Web Page Hosting – How Much Does It Really Cost and How Can You Tell If It’s Right For You?

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The short answer is: Maybe. Free web page hosting may be a great way to get started with your Web presence, especially if you are planning to develop a personal website.

Nearly all Internet Service Providers give you very limited free hosting when you sign up for an internet access plan. But it’s usually just enough for a page or two. There are even some web hosting companies who’ll give you a fairly complete free web site hosting package.

Quid Pro Quo

The give-back with free web page hosting is that you must accept online ads plastered all over your web site over which you’ll have no control. If you are hosting a personal web site and are not concerned about a bunch of unrelated or possibly offensive ads on your web pages, a free web site may be a good way to go.

However, if you plan to establish an online business presence you should simply forget about free web page hosting. The limited range of features, coupled with a barrage of ads unrelated to your business, will certainly be a turn-off for your visitors.

It’s Not 1995 Anymore

Most web surfers today are pretty savvy and can spot a free website at a glance and will not take your business seriously if your website doesn’t exude at least a basic degree of professionalism. You just can’t do that with a free web site.

The Good News

It’s actually pretty easy to find paid, yet affordable, web hosting that will enable your online business to compete effectively against the big guys. That is, if you know the kind of web hosting solution that will suit your immediate and long term needs.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of free web page hosting versus a more comprehensive paid web hosting plan.Free Hosting – Pros

  • Well, nothing is completely free. In the case of free web page hosting, it’s pretty close to being free except for having to put up with those pesky ads.
  • Free web sites that come with your ISP’s internet access plan are generally easy to set up and modify using free, though limited, web site design tools provided.
  • This is also true of the free hosting packages offered by some mainstream web hosting companies. They get some ad revenue. You get online for free.
  • Free sites should cause no concerns if you are planning to build a web site that is essentially non-commercial in nature.

Free Hosting – Cons

  • The main drawback with free web page hosting is that it obviuosly looks to your visitors like a non-commercial (read “unprofessional”) web site.

So if you are planning to transact any business online, whether product, software, or services sales, or affiliate and pay-per-click marketing. you simply must pay for your hosting.

Not To Worry

At Web-Host-Watch we report on a variety of free and low cost hosting solutions. Spend some time with our tutorials, tips, and recommendations to get the information you’ll need to select the best paid or free hosting plan that’s just right for you.

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Making Online Education Attractive

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All over the world, the numbers of people in school at the different levels takes pyramidal shape. There are huge numbers at the elementary, but as they progress, the numbers decrease, leaving just a few in higher education. In the United States, some 65 million students were expected to enroll from K to K12 in the fall of 2015. In the same period, it was expected that 20.2 million would be attending Colleges and Universities. It is estimated that 25% of fresh high school students in the U.S.A are not able to graduate. For fresh students who enter colleges or universities 1 out of 3 are likely not make it to second year. This dropout out rate hinders national development, because many people do not receive the full training they need to be functional in society. National development would be hugely fostered, if more adults receive education, in order that they become functional in society.

I am not saying that all adults who were not fully educated are not playing important roles in society. There are very prominent individuals in society who dropped out of school at some level. Bill Gate, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, for example, at some point dropped out of school. Though this list is not exhaustive, the number of people who dropped out of school or decided not to gain higher education and yet became successful are relatively few. For the majority who dropped out or discontinued education, and could not become successful in their careers, it was because they lacked the knowledge they needed to develop their potential. If you check the history of those who in spite of dropping out or discontinuing schooling have become successful, you would find that appeared to have found their life’s purpose and so pursued those goals and, more importantly, they received some kind of education later.

Education as we all know is a life-long activity. At any point in time, whether you dropped out of school or got honors at your graduation, you would need education. The school dropout who has found himself a vocation or gained employment needs education so he/she can be more productive, the dropout who has realized the need to school but has ‘grown past school going age’ and desires to school obviously needs education, managers as well as employees need further education in order to keep pace with today’s rapidly changing world and gain increased wages and status respectively. Somehow, the traditional education dependent society we have created for ourselves and considers the ‘best’, limits our quest for continuing education. For many people, formal education ended the day they dropped out or graduated from High School, College or University, even though, technology makes it possible for us to sit in our houses and still get quality education.

When technology – computers and internet connectivity – replaced physical classrooms and made it possible to study by distance in real time, it appeared the issue of continuous education for everyone, including the dropout and the working class have been solved. It appeared, and still does, that now the teacher need not leave his students, apply for study-leave or leave of absence to pursue further education. It appeared the fifty-year-old woman who dropped out of school several years ago could now school from home and it appeared the father could learn what his daughter is learning at College using the same device he uses to call her. That is what it appeared. Those who dropped out of school due to issues of finance and have not since had a breakthrough would not benefit, and those who have the money would not want to put their money into a certificate employers and academicians alike would frown upon. So little appear to have changed for these two groups of people, though online Colleges and Universities abound.

Two prime issues are to blame. First, online education is too expensive for the target group of learners and second, there is the perception that online Colleges and Universities do not provide holistic education like the traditional Colleges and Universities. As indicated by Ed Vosganian – founder and CEO of College Funding 123, the cost of on-campus University for undergraduate is estimated at 42,000 dollars while for the same group it cost around 21,000 dollars for online universities. By comparison we would say that it cost far less to study via online. But we need not lose sight of those who mostly enroll in online University. It is those in the middle and lower classes who opt for online universities. They include; the employee who has sacrificed pleasure for higher qualification in return for better wages, the unemployed who wants to gain employable skills, the dropout who wants to get back to school in the hope that there will be a brighter future, and the people living in the remote part of the world, especially in the developing world, who don’t even have the money to pay fees and so would have to learn and work simultaneously. To these 21,000 dollars is money so huge, it is very difficult to raise. There are people of the higher income class who enroll in online universities, but online learning is not popular among these due to low prestige and the myths associated with online education. The online institutions will tell you, they would not put anything on your certificate to show that you received a non-traditional education. This kind of advert speaks of how society values online education. Online education is considered a cheap way of getting ‘watered down’ education. Online Colleges and Universities were until recently considered diploma mills. This perception still exists, though empirical evidence tells us there is no disparity in quality of students from traditional Colleges and Universities on one hand and online Colleges and Universities on the other. The online Universities and Colleges are doing their best to make online learning prestigious and bring down study cost, but they cannot do it alone. With government intervention online learning can become prestigious and lower and middle class friendly.

Government should provide a national framework for online education, subsidize accreditation, and grant scholarships and student loans for students in online Colleges and Universities. A national framework to guide the operations of all online colleges and universities should be instituted by the state, through the Department of Education or the relevant government agency. This framework, which would be descriptive and not prescriptive in nature would describe, for example, the minimum courses to be taken at a given level, and the general mode of operation of online universities and colleges without prescribing specific courses or mode of operation. Accreditation is not just laborious for online Colleges and Universities; it is also expensive. This cost is passed to students, souring up program fees. If the government decides to absorb half the cost of accreditation, though there is no guarantee the program fees will be halved, the program fee would be reduced somehow. Lastly, most of the students who opt for online colleges and universities do not receive scholarships and student loans from the state. Those who receive something do not get huge scholarships and student loans like their counterparts in traditional Colleges and Universities. Government should make scholarships and students loans available to students of online Colleges and Universities just as it does for students in traditional Colleges and Universities.

The ramifications of these interventions would definitely be awesome. Providing a national framework for online education would take away the false negative perception people have about online learning. Many think online learning is easy and also the number of credits taken are far less than those taken in traditional learning settings. This thinking exists because there are some poorly designed online courses in which certificate are awarded after just a couple of assignments have been submitted. Such practices can be stopped, when a national framework is developed and operationalized. A national framework will give credibility to online learning, because a national standard for online would have to be adhered to and so no online college or university can just sell certificate. Subsidizing Accreditation will yield three results. The most obvious is that, it would reduce program fees because amount to pass to the students would be less. Subsidizing accreditation fees would encourage online Colleges and Universities to seek accreditation from accrediting bodies recognize by the Department of Education or the appropriate state agency. Even though accreditation is not compulsory in some parts of the world, like the united states, some occupation that require state licensing would not accept degree from non-accredited Colleges and University. Prospective online learners are, usually, worried about whether the can easily work with their certificates. Government intervention would remove this worry and remove the negative perception people have about online education as well. Government interventions in the form of scholarship and loans would ease the financial burden and make it possible for those who hitherto would not be able to school to do so. In sum, government intervention would go a long way to produce an enlightened society by permitting many people to receive higher education.

There are many people wanting to get higher education through online Colleges and Universities so they gain knowledge and skills, or enhance their knowledge and skills but cannot do because of either the cost or the uncertainty of the acceptability of the certificate. Government intervention in the form of national framework for online universities and colleges, subsidizing accreditation cost and providing scholarships and student loans would open the door for those who want to study from home. Government intervention can give the assurance that online learning is as good as traditional college or university learning, and that their certificate would be accepted jobs that require state licensing. It would ease the pressure on facilities in traditional Colleges and Universities, produce the well-educated citizenry needed for national development and convert the current pyramidal shape into a ‘near’ cylinder.

REFERENCE

Ed Vosganian (n.d.). The Real Price of Online College. Retrieved from http://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/financial-aid/online-college-degree-cost/.

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LCD Backlighting For HDTV

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LCD is winning the race to be the dominant display technology for HDTV. According to DisplaySearch, in 2007, the market for LCD (liquid crystal diode) TVs was estimated at $27.4 billion. LCD TV shipments rose a stronger than expected 52% year to year in the second quarter of 2008 to nearly 7.5 million units (79.8% of total HDTV sales).

The LCD screen on a LCD HDTV is a selective light filter. It does not in itself emit light, but selectively filters light passing through the display from the back. Most HDTVs include either a single sheet of luminescent plastic or sidelighting with fluorescent lamps to provide the backlight. Both techniques are difficult to control.

Many consumers focus on screen resolution when selecting a High Def (HDTV) system. Is this HDTV 720p, 1020i, or 1020p? However, when an expert group, the SMPTE (Society of Motion Pictures and Television Engineers), recently ranked the importance of screen resolution, it ranked fourth. The SMPTE ranked contrast ratio, color saturation, color temperature and grayscale ahead of screen resolution in importance. The Imaging Science Foundation reached a similar conclusion. Backlighting is the key component to improvement in contrast ratio and grayscale.

It is important that an LCD system allows for adjustment of the level of backlighting, and preferably, performs this function automatically. This will improve the contrast of the picture. Also, a reduced backlight level will also reduce power consumption and extend lamp life, as the power used and lamp lifetime is directly related to the backlight level. A lamp with a 50,000 hour lifetime at 6 milliamps may only have a 30,000 hour lifetime if the current is 7 milliamps, just 1 milliamp higher (Example: Sharp Electronics LCD Display).

Another important factor in the choice of backlighting is the consideration of “blur”. Blur occurs when there is rapid motion in the programming, such as sports. When the picture changes quickly, the pixels can lag in response. Effective backlight engineering can reduce this significantly by strobing the backlighting, so that the individual pixels do not remain lit longer than needed. Examples of this technique include the Philips “Aptura” and the Samsung “LED Motion Plus”.

Sidelighting

With sidelighting, the backlight is located in the back of the LCD panel, and to each side to create panel illumination. To make the light more uniform, a light diffuser is located between the lamps and the rear of the optical filter module. Most LCD systems that use sidelighting use cold cathode fluorescents (CCF) lamps. This technology provides a very bright white light. The lifetime of the lamps is usually between 10,000 to 20,000 hours (6-12 years at a rate of 5 hours of use per day).

The most important disadvantage is that the intensity of light cannot be varied locally, and sidelighting can look non-uniform. Some CCF lamps contain mercury. This is an ecological disadvantage.

The major drawbacks:

  • The intensity of light cannot be varied locally. This results in a lower contrast picture.
  • The light can be non-uniform.
  • Some CCF lamps contain mercury.

Conventional Backlighting

Most backlighting is performed with a single sheet of electroluminescent plastic. These panels can age (though improvements in this area have reduced this problem). Electroluminescent Panel backlighting uses colored phosphors to generate light. Displays using this technique can be thin and lightweight, and provide even light distribution.

The major drawbacks:

  • Limited life of 3,000 to 5,000 hours to half brightness (2-3 years at a rate of 5 hours of use per day).
  • The intensity of light cannot be varied locally.

LED Backlighting

LED backlighting uses a matrix of LEDs that can be controlled individually to offer very good control. In this configuration, a large number of LEDs are mounted uniformly behind the display. Brightness improvements in LEDs have made them more practical for backlighting. NEC pioneered this technique with their monitor, the 2180WG. Other companies, such as Samsung, have recently introduced versions of this technology. This should push prices down (the Samsung model cost less than 1/3 the price of a comparable NEC monitor).

This system offers local dimming technology and can achieve 1,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. True actual black levels (the “Holy Grail” of LCD) are attainable by shutting off a pixel’s light source. This can eliminate the grayish black picture typical of many LCD HDTVs. Groups of LEDs can be locally controlled to produce more light, increasing the brightness when necessary.

The problem with conventional white LEDs is that their spectrum is not ideal for photographic reproduction because they are basically blue LEDs with a yellow phosphor on top. Their color spectrum has two peaks, one at blue and another at yellow. White LEDs that are based on a group of red, green and blue LEDs are ideal for the RGB color filters of an LCD and can result in the most saturated colors. Sony’s “Triluminos” LED backlight system is an example of this technique.

Sometimes, these HDTVs have a row of LEDs across the top and bottom of the display. This improves the brightness and color reproduction, and enables almost complete uniformity across the display.

LED backlights are much more efficient that alternative techniques. And since the LED backlight waste less energy, less heat is generated, that must be managed with air conditioning. LED backlights offer a long operating lifetime of more than 50,000 hours (more than 25 years of use at a rate of 5 hours a day).

LED backlit systems may not show well in a typical retail environment. Typically, the screens are somewhat reflective in order to achieve the high contrast ratio, and subsequently, a brightly lit showroom may not flatter this technology. In a more typical less-lit environment, this problem should not be as noticeable.

Engineering Concerns

The electrical engineering is simpler with LED backlights. Cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCF) require high AC voltages (1,500 VAC) at startup, and operating voltages of 700 VAC or more. When the lamp is new it may take much less voltage to start, but with age the voltage requirements usually increase, complicating a designer’s problem. An electroluminescent panel requires a voltage of about 100 VAC @ 400 Hertz.

A power inverter (to generate VAC) is needed for both CCF and electroluminescent panels to operate with a DC power supply. This is a significant expense, in cost, size, and weight of the system. The best inverter for this application permits the output voltage to automatically increase as the lamps age, extending the useful life of the lamps.

LCD systems with LED backlighting utilize low voltage DC, usually 12 or 24 VDC. This results in a smaller, simpler, and more reliable system. LED backlit systems must be well cooled or their performance can suffer. The LEDs generate less heat than CCF lamps, but the heat is very concentrated. Operating at high temperatures reduces the LED lifetime and shifts their light spectrum, while reducing output luminance.

OLED

A new technology that you will be hearing about in the future is Organic LED (OLED). This technology has a completely different backlight technology, it doesn’t need one. Because of this, they draw much less power. And because there is no backlight, an OLED system has a larger viewing angle than an LED system. An OLED display is much thinner than an LCD display. The response time for OLED is faster than normal LCD screens. An average of 8 to 12 milliseconds in response time is normal for a LCD compared to 0.01 milliseconds in response time for an OLED.

Sony introduced an 11″ HDTV at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas. The new 11″ Sony TV is called the “XEL-1”. It’s very thin (1/10″) and currently sells for $2500. Samsung demonstrated a 31″ OLED HDTV with 1080P resolution at a tradeshow in Asia in November. LG, Toshiba, Matsushita (Panasonic), and others are investing hundreds of millions of dollars, developing this extremely promising technology. Toshiba has plans to sell a 30″ OLED display in 2009. Samsung has announced they will sell large screen OLED HDTVs in 2010.

OLED displays have already been used for some time in digital cameras, cell phones and other devices with relatively small panels, because they are very energy efficient, which is very important in portable devices.

In theory, OLED displays can be more inexpensively manufactured than LCD or plasma displays, meaning that they should not be as expensive. Remember that the first large LCD and Plasma displays were much more expensive when they were first introduced.

Summary

LCD HDTVs and monitors with LED array backlighting are now the approach of choice because they exhibit better image quality while saving power. The ability to locally control light output is key to achieving high contrast ratios.

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