Japan Display ditches the backlight with its new LCD

Japan Display showed off a low-power display panel last week at the FPD International 2012 show in Japan. Unlike every other LCD in our current devices, this one does not use a backlight to illuminate the panel.

Instead, it uses reflected light—sort of like a mirror—to render a monochromatic image. At the same time, the device deploys color filters to produce the final color image and video that you see.

An obvious advantage of this display is that it could dramatically reduce power consumption without the need for a backlight. The power savings don’t stop there.

According to Diginfo.tv, this display only draws three milliwatts of electricity when showing a still image because each pixel can actually retain a signal and remember what color it was last set to without drawing power. That sort of pixel memory functionality could make it a low-power, color LCD alternative to E-Ink devices or digital picture frames.

Unfortunately, the backlight-free panel also ends up with some muted colors as well as a poor contrast ratio at 30:1. Japan Display acknowledges the problems with its two panels, but the company says the technology is proven to work and that it’s ready to begin mass production.

Would you use a backlight-less display? Leave a comment.

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