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Competition leads to new era of innovation in display sector

Rivalry among key vendors leads to the development of new innovations in flat panel display market

BOOMING SALES of flat-panel television displays is leading to unprecedented research and development in the sector with the promise of new technologies designed to capitalise on market demand. This technological revolution has led to a rapid decline in demand for CRT television receivers, with LCD TVs paving the way in terms of sales growth.

According to industry analyst iSuppli, LCD TVs will outsell their CRT counterparts in all markets worldwide by 2009. The company predicted that television sales would top 227 million units worldwide in 2010, up from 177 million in 2005 and 187 million this year.

“The rapid decline in CRT television shipments is rippling through the market as flat-panel TVs become increasingly price competitive,” the firm stated.

With many of the new breed of LCD TV manufacturers based in China, Chinese press reports recently suggested that global sales of LCD TVs would reach 66 million units in 2007, up more than 50% on 2006 results. Reports also suggested that increased demand would see a corresponding price drop at retail, opening up the market for LCD TVs to new budget-minded consumers and further eroding demand for entry- level CRTs.

JVC, Canon, Toshiba, Philips and Sharp are leading the way in terms of the development of new screen display formats. JVC has developed an optical engine that enables the production of a 60-inch rear projection TV with a depth of just 10-inches.

This compares favourably to LCD and plasma display TVs that often measure up to 16-inches in depth.

The optical engine, named Slim HD-ILA, employs a concave mirror to reflect the light beam in place of a conventional convex mirror. The configuration enables the engine to be made compact but with a wide 138 degree projection angle.

Sharp recently debuted a new 64-inch LCD TV that the company claims boasts picture resolution four times that of normal high-definition screens. With a 4,096 x 2,160 pixelline resolution, the display features double the number of vertical and horizontal pixel lines offered by a normal HD screen.

The monitor can also be divided into quarters and display four highdefinition videos simultaneously.

Philips last month introduced its LCD TV range boasting Ambilight technology in the Middle East. Ambilight is a unique innovation that emits ambient light behind the border of the television display.

Utilising Philips’ colour analysis software, the ambient light is blended to match dominant colours on the screen. Philips claims this not only extends the viewing field, but also reduces eyestrain, improves picture detail, contrast and colour. Ambilight software can automatically adjust the colour pallette, or users can personalise it to their preference.

Meanwhile, Canon and Toshiba have combined to debut the world’s first television display to utilise surface- conduction electron-emitter display (SED) technology.

Arguably one of the greatest developments in terms of display technology since the introduction of plasma TVs, SED TVs boast comparable image brightness to CRT televisions, a wider viewing angle than plasmas and LCDs, and none of the image delay traits that typically hamper both display formats. Canon and Toshiba also argue that SED TVs are extremely energy efficient, consuming one-third less power than similarly sized plasma displays.

Unveiling the new display at the recent Ceatec exhibition in Tokyo, the partners confirmed plans to commence production in July, with the first model set to boast a screen size of 55-inches.

A potential rival to SED TVs in the large-screen TV market was also unveiled last month by Australian company Arasor International. Hailed as the natural successor to plasma TVs, the laser TV boasts optoelectronic chip techology making it half the price and twice as efficient as existing flatscreen televisions, Arasor claimed.

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