LCD Display Modes

LCD Displays can come in two different display modes: positive or negative; and can come with different polarizers: Transflective, Transmissive, and Reflective. The type of application in which the display will be used will impact which mode and polarizer should be selected.

Here is a look at the differences between the two modes.

example of a postive mode display Positive Type

Positive type displays provide an image with dark pixels on a light background. Ambient light or backlight can be used for this type of display and is capable of multiple background colors.

example of a negative mode display Negative Type

Negative type displays provide an image with light pixels on a dark background. The backlight must be used for this type of display and is capable of multiple pixel colors.


Reflective polarizers are used in high ambient light environments or whenever sufficient power is not available to drive the backlight.

Reflective Diagram

Ambient light is necessary to use this type of display.


Transmissive LCDs always require a backlight and provide the highest brightness display. They are best suited for applications where direct sunlight viewing is not involved.

Transmissive Diagram

Backlighting only. In case of B no reflector is used.


Transflective polarizers have both reflecting and transmitting properties and offer the most versatile viewing characteristics. They can be viewed in direct sunlight and when combined with a backlight in low light conditions.

Transflective Diagram

Ambient light is taken from the outside during the day and the backlight is used in low lighting conditions.

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