How Everything Works
How Everything Works How Everything Works

Question 309

What is one doing when changing the brightness, contrast, and color adjustments on a television?
The brightness control determines the maximum strength of the electron beam and thus the peak brightness of the phosphors on the screen. The contrast control determines the extent to which the electron beam current changes between bright regions and dim regions on the screen. If the contrast is high, then even a less-than-white spot in the image may produce full beam current and full brightness in the phosphors and a more-than-black spot in the image may be cast as full black (no beam at all). If the contrast is low, then almost the entire screen will be illuminated by a medium electron beam and the image have no full black or full white. The color adjustments control the relative intensities of the red, green, and blue guns. Because of the way color is encoded in the television signal, the traditional controls are hue and tint, which involve mixtures of red, green, and blue. All these controls involve adjustments to the voltages and currents in the electron guns (cathodes), grids, and anodes of the picture tube.

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