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It has become conventional wisdom that the two major quantum-dot display-enhancement approaches — the flattened glass cylinder of QD Vision and the polymer sheet of Nanosys/3M — have there own natural market segments, and this conventional wisdom has been supported by statements from the two camps.

QD Vision’s “Color IQ” glass element, which is incorporated in Sony’s Triluminos color-enhancement system, grows linearly with screen diagonal. 3M’s Quantum Dot Enhancement Film, which can be substituted for the diffuser film in an LCD backlight, grows with the square of the screen diagonal. It seems logical that at a certain point the cost of QDEF for larger screens would significantly exceed that of the Color IQ element, so the natural market segment for Color IQ would be large screens and the natural segment for QDEF would be small and medium screens.

And that’s how things started out. QD Vision’s first major design win was in high-end Sony Bravia TV sets, and QDEF’s was in the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7.0 and 8.9 inch tablets, in which the QDEF increases the color gamut from 60% to 72% NTSC and enables a significant improvement in battery life.

But at CES HiSense introduced a UHD-TV quantum-dot “Wide Gamut TV,” which uses QDEF film rather than Color IQ. These sets, with a maximum size of 85 inches, will enter the Chinese market in March and the U.S. market this summer.

Vaio Pro Ultrabooks TriluminosThen, if you looked closely in the Sony booth, you could see VAIO Pro Ultrabooks and Flip PCs with Triluminos displays So much for conventional wisdom. Sony wasn’t making much fuss about the Triluminos displays in its high-end notebooks at CES, but the opposite is true on the Sony Store website. The Triluminos displays appear to be available on the 11.6- and 13.3-inch VAIO Pro Ultrabooks and on the 13.3-, 14-, and 15.5-inch Flip PCs. All of these displays are Full HD. ┬áBy the way, in addition to having a FHD Triluminos display, the Sony VAIO Flip sports a very clever slide-and-flip mechanism for converting between PC, tablet, stand, and easel configurations.

So, what has happened to change the conventional wisdom? Nanosys tells me that if all things were equal, the conventional wisdom might apply, but that QD Vision has to use a greater density of QDs than 3M does, so the cost difference in large screens is less than was originally anticipated. I do not yet have an answer for the opposite question: Why is it economical to use the Color IQ element for smaller screens? I hope that QD Vision’s Seth Coe-Sullivan will be answer that question at the SID Los Angeles Chapter’s One Day Symposium on Advanced Television Technologies being held February 7 at the Costa Mesa Country Club (http://www.sid.org/Chapters/Americas/LosAngelesChapter/Symposium.aspx). 3M’s Eric Joste will also be speaking. Gentlemen, now you know some of the questions we will be directing your way in Costa Mesa.

Ken Werner is Principal of Nutmeg Consultants, specializing in the display industry, manufacturing, technology, and applications. You can reach him at kwerner@nutmegconsultants.com.

Posted by Ken Werner, January 23, 2014 1:51 PM

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About Ken Werner

Kenneth I. Werner is the founder and Principal of Nutmeg Consultants, which specializes in the display industry, display technology, display manufacturing, and display applications. He serves as Marketing Consultant for Tannas Electronic Displays (Orange, California) and Senior Analyst for Insight Media. He is a founding co-editor of and regular contributor to Display Daily, and is a regular contributor to HDTVexpert.com and HDTV Magazine. He was the Editor of Information Display Magazine from 1987 to 2005.