Advanced Imaging


Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

The Big Picture Fits the Small Screen

Microdisplays can do the job as well as their larger counterparts
Digital Interface LCD
Samsung Electronics
Z800 3D Visor
The Z800 3D Visor from eMagin Corp.
Dataglass 2/A
The Dataglass 2/A from Shimadzu Corp. of Japan.

Hank Russell By Hank Russell
Managing Editor

Microdisplays are often associated with cell phones, personal data assistants (PDAs) or digital still cameras, but they can be used for much more. Rear projection television (RPTV) is one example. According to McLaughlin Consulting Group (Menlo Park, CA), total global sales of microdisplays for RPTV applications can climb to at least $4 billion within three years; more optimistic prognosticators, according to the report, predict that figure could reach $6 billion with sales ranging between 11 and 22 million units.

Rear projection TVs are one of the highest growth markets for microdisplays," says Sandeep Gupta, CEO of MicroDisplay Corp. (Marina Del Ray, CA). "The forecast for that (rear projection TV sales) is to grow aggressively this year and next year. Front projectors are on a more reasonable growth because they have been with us longer. Also, every office is used to having a projector and the volume unit is higher than RPTVs."

"The microdisplay industry has been emerging for almost 10 to 15 years and it's only recently, during the last two to three years, that the RPTV markets have really started to accelerate," Gupta says. "The technologies are fairly complex; they take dedication and persistence and good technology from some forward-thinking people and companies to allow the technology to be deployed today. Microdisplays aren't the overnight technology that came out from nowhere."

To improve pixel resolution for small LCD displays, Clairvoyante Inc. (Cupertino, CA) offers a subpixel rendering technology in which each subpixel is treated separately and used more efficiently to increase the perceived resolution. Other systems use bound triplets of Red-Green-Blue (RGB) subpixels to form pixels. Clairvoyante Inc.'s PenTile Matrix system is a set of optimal pixel architectures and corresponding image processing systems that match how the human visual systems process works. According to the company, PenTile Matrix offers an increase in aperture by 30 percent. When combined with RGB White (RGBW), it offers up to a 100 percent increase in brightness.

BOE HYDIS Technology (Icheon-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea) has developed a mobile LCD panel for mobile phones. It is a 2-inch qVGA (240x320) display with a brightness of 300 nits, a contrast ratio of 500:1 and color representation of 45 percent. According to the company, the technology incorporated into the panel provides the highest definition display in the industry while maintaining low power consumption, and it uses only half the power consumption other LCD manufacturers would need to reproduce the same definition. The panel, using subpixel rendering technology, enhances brightness and transmission two-fold by adding white to the conventional RGB fluorescent substrate to create an RGBW structure. An amorphous-silicon (a-Si) row driver (ARD) and a gate drive IC built onto an LCD board are also included.

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