For the record: I hate reflective screens.
In the past, I've written about how I hate them on laptops. And, judging from the reader comments, many of you hate them as well. Unfortunately, it seems like our pleas are falling on deaf ears. Matte screens are becoming harder to find on laptops: you usually have to search out "business" models, which are sometimes lean on consumer-friendly features and pricing. So, if you're not in a totally darkened environment, you're left staring at your own reflection in the screen, instead of at your work.
Now the trend is extending to TVs, as well. Once upon a time, plasma screens had reflective glass, while LCD screens had matte finishes. But as LCD continues to take market share from plasma, the LCD TV manufacturers are struggling to distinguish their products from one another in the marketplace. And with the spec sheets becoming ever more identical--1080p resolution, LED backlighting, 240Hz refresh rate, zillion-to-one contrast ratio--design becomes more important than ever. In addition to ever thinner panels, shiny, glossy, highly reflective screens are becoming the norm in LCD land.
The cynic in me still thinks the manufacturers really prefer the glossy reflective screens because they "pop" on the showroom floor at Best Buy--shoppers eyes are drawn to shiny baubles, even if they're $3,000 big-screen TVs. But, to be fair, the glossy screens aren't entirely cosmetic. Manufacturers claim that the glossy screens preserve black levels by focusing the reflections rather than scattering them in a more diffuse pattern. So, you'll see the light from a window will only take up that much space on the screen, instead of having the larger discolored white blob you'd see on a matte screen.
While that's certainly true, the fact is that I find the diffuse matte reflection to be much less objectionable than seeing a mirror image of my living room staring back at me. On the example above, note the reflection on the screen on the left completely obscures Maggie Gyllenhaal's image; the same window reflection on the upper corner of the TV on the right is, to my eye, much easier to tolerate. … Read more