Active-Matrix Liquid Crystal Display

What Does Active-Matrix Liquid Crystal Display Mean?

An active matrix liquid crystal display (AMLCD) is a type of flat-panel display that uses cathode ray tubes typically less than less than 4 inches thick. It is commonly used in mobile devices and televisions. An active matrix includes:

  • High refresh rates
  • Polarizing sheets
  • Liquid crystal cells
  • Thin film transistor (TFT)

Compared to a passive matrix the active matrix has a higher quality picture, a faster response time, no “trailers” or double images and a broader display of colors. AMLCD also consumes less power.

Techopedia Explains Active-Matrix Liquid Crystal Display

The term active matrix refers to the active capacitors in the display of a screen. The capacitors control each individual pixel, resulting in a faster response time and clearer picture. A passive matrix display requires altering a full row of pixels to modify a single pixel, causing slow response times and trailers.

An active matrix has the ability to display fast-moving images with the use of thin film transistors (TFTs) and capacitors. A TFT has a transistor for each pixel on a screen, allowing electrical current to be turned off and on at a faster rate. This action displays a clearer picture, especially with moving images, and prevents the trailers that are common with passive matrix displays.

In more basic terms, an active matrix LCD delivers individual support for each pixel, resulting in a brighter and more colorful picture display. The AMLCD has basically replaced the passive matrix and can be found on most PCs, notebooks and LCD TVs.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…