What Does "Color TFT Active Matrix LCD" Mean?

by Sue Williams

A color TFT active matrix LCD is a specific type of display used in several televisions and monitors currently on the market, as of 2010. There are three components to define: color TFT, active matrix and LCD.

Color TFT

A color thin-film transistor (TFT) is a red-green-blue (RGB) display that uses a semi-solid liquid sandwiched between two layers of thin plastic (clear electrodes). The color TFT, by definition, is a simple display for visual media.

Active Matrix

Active matrix is the polarizing of the TFT to produce an arrangement of colors on the clear electrode screen. An electrical pulse is sent down the grid system of the TFT causing a direct connection to the desired pixel point. This is unlike a passive matrix in which the grid system is only electrified in places where rows and columns of transistors meet. The active matrix produces a faster, thinner screen with higher capacity for color and grayscaling.


The Austrian botanist Friedrich Reinitzer discovered liquid crystal in 1888. Liquid crystal display (LCD) was first attempted in the 1960s and has become commonplace today. The Express Repair Center website explains that "Liquid crystals move according to the difference in voltage between the Color Filter Glass and the TFT Glass." This is what causes the visual display you see on the surface of the screen.

About the Author

Sue Williams is a freelance writer specializing in the strange and unusual. She began writing professionally in 1990 and has been published in "The Offbeat," "The Dewitt Chronicle" and the "Haslett Gazette." She holds a master's degree in communication from State University of New York, Albany.

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