Tech 2005: What's New and What's Next

Splash of Color

Toshiba's prototype blends the best of CRT and LCD displays in a svelte flat panel.
Toshiba's prototype blends the best of CRT and LCD displays in a svelte flat panel.
We've been tempted with visions of bendable displays for years. Alas, the promise of big and flexible organic light-emitting-diode and other foldable displays remains the stuff of lab demonstrations--not quite science fiction, but not quite technological reality, either. So companies, including Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and a few startups, are instead ramping up the quality of tomorrow's flat screens.

Toshiba and Canon, for example, are cooking up thinner, lighter, and better flat panels, based on a technology called Surface Conduction Electron-Emitter Display, or SED. It shoots electrons through thousands of nanometers-wide slits onto a phosphor-coated screen, blending the best of traditional CRTs and LCDs. The Toshiba-Canon joint venture, SED Incorporated, will manufacture initial products by 2005, with volume production expected in 2007.

In Living Color

Genoa Color takes a different approach in displaying colors on screen. Its Multi-Primary Color (MPC) technology provides additional colors (such as yellow and cyan) that TVs can mix to display an expanded range of colors, including brighter versions of colors that RGB (red-green-blue) screens produce poorly. Using the MPC chip and up to three additional primary colors, TVs and monitors can deliver more-realistic color--particularly the flesh tones and yellows where the RGB method is weakest. MPC should be appear in high-end rear-projection televisions in the second quarter of 2005.

Sony is taking another tack to meet a similar challenge, introducing in Japan the Qualia 005 line of 40- and 46-inch LCD TVs, which use white light-emitting diodes to backlight the screen. Called Triluminos, these LEDs let displays produce more colors than the cold cathode-based fluorescent lamps used in most LCD TVs. Jon Peddie, principal analyst for Jon Peddie Research, a leading graphics research firm, says the effect "is amazing and [provides] photographic color gamma." In short, colors on screen look true to life.

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