Quad High-Definition LCD Unveiled

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN -- A flat-panel display that boasts four times the resolution of today's high-definition television sets has been announced by Taiwan's Chi Mei Optoelectronics.

The 56-inch LCD panel has a resolution of 3840 pixels by 2160 pixels, which is double both the horizontal and vertical resolution of a high-definition set, so it has four times the number of pixels. It has a 1000:1 contrast ratio and luminance of 600 nits and was unveiled at the FPD International exhibition that began here Wednesday.

New Technology

Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) faced several challenges in developing the panel, said Chen Li Yi, director of CMO's LCD TV business division, in an interview.

The first was the electronic circuitry used to drive the panel. Due to its high resolution the data transmission rate for the image is about 1.4GB per second, which is much higher than current panels and required the use of expensive image processing technology. As it refines the technology and prepares to sell a product based on it, the company hopes to start reducing the required components into a smaller number of dedicated integrated circuits.

Mastering the manufacturing process was and remains a problem, said Chen. Getting a defect-free sample to unveil at the Yokohama exhibition proved a task for CMO and the low yield rate of useable panels from its production line is one reason a product is not likely to appear on the market for about a year.

The panel is expected to be available in the third quarter next year and at first won't be cheap, said Chen. He said CMO hopes to be able to sell the panel for about $10,000 when it first enters commercial production. The price of products based on the panel will be higher.

Target Customers

Applications include a television for TV junkies who want to watch four high-definition channels at the same time in full resolution, said Chen.

"Some people want such a TV no matter what the price," he said.

Other applications include medical imaging, security and military systems, he said.

Futuristic as the panel may seem for consumer TV applications, research already going on into future broadcasting technology exceeds the screen's resolution.

Japan's public broadcaster, Nippon Hoso Kyokai, has developed a system it calls Super Hi-Vision that offers a 16:9 aspect ratio picture with 4320 horizontal lines. That's four times the resolution of CMO's new panel or 16 times that of current high-definiton panels. NHK has demonstrated the system several times although commercial deployment remains many years away.

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