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Today’s Show:

SID Display Week 2013

The Society for Information Display held their annual Display Week conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada last month from May 19 – 24.  The show came and went without so much as a mention on the HDTV Podcast, but in our reading and research since the show, it turns out some very cool innovations were on display. Next year’s show will be in San Diego, we might have to make a day trip out of it.


Flexible OLED

LG had several panels on display at the conference. Among them was a 5″ flexible, unbreakable OLED screen. Unlike the screens we’re used to on smartphones and tablets, this LG screen is made of plastic, not glass. Not only does that make it much more durable and difficult to break, it also makes it flexible. You can actually bend, twist and beat on the screen. It looks amazing.

Using plastic substrates instead of glass reduces manufacturing costs, so there’s an obvious benefit to those creating and selling smartphones and tablets. And the benefits for the consumer are obvious, who hasn’t had a screen crack on them at some point? According toSarah Silbert of engadget, LG was encouraging attendees to hit the screen with a hammer and twist it in whatever way they wanted. She reports the screen having a feel like a thick film strip.

Various internet reports have mentioned the screen will need to be brighter and have better resolution, when the screen does make it to market, but LG is confident they’ll be able to do that, as well as scale the technology to smaller and bigger sizes, in the near future. There’s no word on when it will be available, but you’ve got to think a technology like that will send shockwaves through the portable device market.


Quantum Dot

We talked about Quantum Dot potentially being the “next big thing” in display technology onEpisode 531 a little over a year ago. It looks like 3M and Nanosys would like to make that a reality very soon. The companies have announced that they will begin shipping samples of their Quantum Dot Enhancement Film to LCD manufacturers by the end of this quarter. They report that QDEF will produce a 50% wider color gamut than existing backlight technologies, while also consuming less power.

The QDEF technology is a drop-in replacement for existing backlight technologies in use in LCD manufacturing, so according to 3M and Nanosys, will represent zero additional cost in the actual creation of an LCD TV itself. So you’ll get colors that rival OLED using the existing LCD fabrication facilities. Sounds like a win-win for manufacturers and consumers. Of course the new Quantum Dot technology itself is more expensive to produce now than the current LED or CCFL light sources, but as the technology scales, it should come down in price.

While 3M and Nanosys are promising to ship qualification samples by the end of this quarter, and hoping products will be on the shelves within 6 months, Sony already has a few devices with Quantum Dot technology from QD Vision on the market, including a Vaio tablet and an Xperia smartphone and the “Triluminous” TV screens we saw at CES this year. Look like the “Triluminous” Quantum Dot technology has made it into the 4K TVs Sony is currently showing off at their website. We aren’t sure why Sony hasn’t made a bigger splash with this.


Flexible Plasma

Unlike the flexible OLED that LG showed off at 5″, Japan’s Shinoda Plasma Co. demonstrated a flexible, full size plasma display panel at the conference. For their efforts, they were able to garner the “Best Prototype at Display Week” award. When we first read about it, we thought it had to be a typo. How can the big, rigid, glass panels we all know as “plasma” be transformed into a flexible, bendable screen?

Turns out its no typo. But it’s not quite as flexible as the OLED either. The screen itself can be rolled up, but not bent or twisted. It works like a pull down front projection screen. It can only be rolled in one dimension, and really only in one direction in that dimension. So you can’t roll it up sideways or decide you want to roll it up backwards. In fact, the technology is a lot like a wooden or bamboo shade you might use to cover a window.

They call it “Luminous Array Film,” or LAFi. It uses thousands of tiny glass tubes that measure one millimeter in diameter. When rolled out, the individual tubes form the equivalent of the one large glass surface we’re used to seeing in a plasma screen. The prototype panel was three feet wide and can be rolled up into a cylinder less than four inches in diameter. Sure this doesn’t seem as amazing as plastic OLED, but imagine being able to pull a 100” screen down from the ceiling, with performance equivalent to a VT60, even in a bright room, no projector required. Could be pretty great.

Download Episode #589

Posted by The HT Guys, June 27, 2013 11:35 PM

About The HT Guys

The HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.

Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.

ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.

Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.