In the market for a new TV? If so, you may want to consider sitting tight to see how the market shakes out in the next month or so. Citing un-named market sources, DigiTimes says LCD TV vendors in China are planning to aggressively slash prices in order to boost demand in the second half of 2010.
It's not entirely clear if this pricing strategy will spill over into the United States, but in China, some vendors have already begun dropping price tags to new lows. Both Sharp and Samsung, for example, reduced their LCD TV prices by 15-20 percent during the Labor Day holiday in May, prompting local competitors to follow suit with 20 percent price cuts of their own.
There is more than one reason why this is happening. With the proliferation of LED-backlit LCD TVs, consumers aren't willing to pay as much for CCFL models. TV makers noted worse-than-expected sales in the first half of 2010, and the only way to reach their shipment goals for the year is to come down in price. And while it wasn't mentioned, one has to believe that the push for 3D models is also playing a part in non-3D TV sets holding less value (and interest) than before.
LCD TVs with LED backlighting are relatively new, so we fully expect to pay a pricing premium over those which use fluorescent lighting from tubes. But if history tells us anything, it's that prices tend to creep downwards over time. That isn't necessarily the case here. Citing sources from packaging houses, DigiTimes reports that LED backlight products may see price hikes to the tune of 5-10 percent.
Ironically enough, it's the strong market demand that's driving prices in the wrong direction. LED chip makers have said that they raise prices for rush orders, sometimes by as much as 10 percent. Genesis Photonics, for example, has already hiked up the prices for its green LED epitaxy wafers, while Huga Optotech, Tekcore, and possibly Formosa Epitaxy all plan to do the same.
What impact this will have on the LED TV market remains to be seen. Some vendors are expecting LED-backlit LCD TVs to see a 20-25 percent total market penetration in 2010, but not everyone agrees. Market observers are a little more conservative in their estimates, predicting 15 penetration for LED-backlit models. In addition, there's the possibility of oversupply of LEDs as chip makers increase new capacities in the third quarter, observers warn.
You can't escape it folks, 3D is fast becoming the hottest trend in tech, at least from a marketing standpoint. How well all these 3D devices are received remains to be seen, but it looks as though Lenovo will find out fairly soon.
Citing un-named market watchers, DigiTimes feels pretty confident Lenovo is gearing up to release a stereoscopic 3D notebook in the third quarter of 2010, well ahead of the holiday shopping season. As for which 3D technology Lenovo plans to adopt -- Nvidia's GeForce 3D Vision (active shutter glasses) or Winstron's own technology, which uses polarized glasses -- the general consensus is that they'll go with Winstron.
Either way, you'll need to put on a pair of glasses to cash in on the 3D effects, which could end up turning consumers off. There are other 3D technologies on the table, such as the one Sharp is working on that uses a parallax barrier to achieve 3D effects without the need for glasses. There are some downsides to this too, however, the biggest one being the strict viewing angle. In addition, it seems that Sharp and Hitachi (the other company working on a parallax barrier display) have smaller screens set in their sights, such as the one that will be used on Nintendo's upcoming 3DS console.
The typical netbook is missing a lot of things -- power, optical drives, oodles of storage, more than 2GB of RAM, gaming grade graphics (Nvidia's ION platform notwithstanding) -- but one thing you will find on the netbooks of tomorrow is an HDMI port.
We're talking about HDMI on pretty much all netbooks, not just those built around Nvidia's ION platform. Slapping an HDMi port on the side is part of Intel's push to expand the functionality of this market segment, which will coincide with the Cedar Trail-M platform launch in the second half of 2011.
A good thing too, because today's standard netbooks are ill-equipped to handle HD content, which makes an HDMI port a mostly non-issue. But with Cedar Trail-M, tomorrow's netbooks will boast full HD support and be up to the task of driving content on your HD television.
The engineers over at Fujitsu say they've made significant advancements in color electronic paper that features contrast improved by threefold and re-write speeds twice as fast as previous versions.
According to Fujitsu, the newly developed e-paper boasts the world's highest-level color image quality yet. Fujitsu accomplished the feat by redesigning the panel structure and image re-write methods, the results of which are an improved contrast ratio to 7:1, and a 0.7-second image re-write speed. Compared to previous color e-paper, this will lead to smoother image transitions with higher quality images.
"Enhanced brightness and contrast offered by Fujitsu's new color e-paper allows for more attractive, readable displays, while improvements in write speed result in smoother image transitions," Fujitsu said. "These significant performance improvements in e-paper display technology have broadened its range of potential applications as a paper-like electronic media, such as applications in portable electronic media like e-book readers, public billboards and commercial advertising."
Fujitsu plans to showcase its new color e-paper at the Fujitsu Forum 2010 event in Japan on May 13 and 14.
NEC took to updating its professional display lineup on Wednesday, culminating with the MultiSync PA271W, the latest edition to the MultiSync PA series.
The PA271W sports a 27-inch widescreen panel with a 7ms response time. The maximum brightness comes rated at 300 cd/m2, while the native resolution checks in at 2,560x1,440 pixels. Since this is aimed at graphics professionals, the PA271W comes constructed with a 10-bit p-IPS panel capable of reproducing 97.1 percent of the colors in the AdobeRGB color space.
"The arrival of these new updates to our professional desktop products brings an incredible level of control to our customers," said Art Marshall, Product Manager for NEC Display Solutions. "The most recent version of SpectraView brings compatibility of our award-winning calibration software to the MultiSync PA Series, while the new MultiProfiler software provides a simple, intuitive interface to perform a variety of custom functions that will aid graphics professionals."
Rounding out the spec sheet is a 1,000:1 contrast ratio, three USB ports, and dual DVI and DisplayPort inputs. NEC says the PA271W will be available later this month for $1,400.
Here's a buzzword to remember: Autostereoscopic. What is it? Put simply, it's a type of display that allows for 3D content without having to wear any funny looking glasses, and several major manufacturers are jumping on board. Toshiba is one of the first out of the gates with an autostereoscopic high-definition display, which measures 21 inches and supports a 1280x800 pixel resolution (WXGA).
"To date most 3D products have used special glasses to separate a picture into two images: one for the left eye and the other for the right eye," Toshiba explains. "But the market has strongly desired a more versatile and glasses-free approach that could be used anywhere. This new product employs an integral imaging system (a “light field” display) to reproduce a real object as a 3D image that can be viewed without glasses over a wide range of viewing angles. Therefore, the display is suitable for 3D monitors used for advertisements and entertainment appliances."
Toshiba says its new 21-inch display adopts a lens sheet to control reduction in surface luminance intensity so that it's every bit as bright as a standard 2D display. When it will ship and for how much remains to be seen, but Toshiba isn't alone here. Both Sharp and Hitachi are working on autosterescopic 3D displays of their own, though on a smaller scale. Word on the Web is that one or both of these manufacturers will provide the 3D panel for Nintendo's upcoming 3DS handheld.
Citing unnamed sources in the component industry, DigiTimes claims Apple has already stared developing its second generation iPad. As the report goes, the Cupertino company plans to outfit the followup device with an OLED panel and is shooting for a 2011 launch.
That's probably wishful thinking, even as panel makers put more resources into OLED production. The technology's high cost has prevented it from marching into the mainstream, and even for a $500 to $900 tablet, it seems unlikely that a pricey OLED panel would be part of the package.
Nevertheless, the sources insist that OLED prices are falling and will drop significantly enough that Apple could use them on the next gen iPad. We remain highly skeptical. According to Mingchi Kuo, a senior analyst with DigiTimes Research, the current price of the 9.7-inch LCD panel for the iPad runs about $60-$70. By comparison, an OLED panel of the same size would cost about $500. It's tough envisioning that kind of price gap narrowing significantly by 2011.
BenQ this week announced the release of its GL series LED monitors, all of which feature a "truly prodigious" 12,000,000:1 contrast ratio. That number's dynamic, however, so take it with a healthy dose of salt.
The new displays include the GL930 (18.5 inches), GL931 (19 inches), GL2030 (20 inches), GL2230 (21.5 inches), and GL2231 (22 inches). BenQ says all GL models come in four different models with different connectors. These include:
GL (D-Sub; DVI-D)
GL/M (D-Sub; DVI-D; Line-In; Headphone Jack)
GL/AM (D-Sub; Line-In; Headphone Jack)
The GL/M and GL/AM models also come equipped with a pair of 1W speakers built-in, while all models sport a 5ms response time and BenQ's proprietary Senseye Human Vision Technology, which is an image enhancement engine that mimics the human eye by adjusting the color, clarity, and contrast of video, while also smoothing out quick images through motion optimization, BenQ says.
Look for these to ship next week. No word yet on pricing.
Maybe one day we'll look back and remember 3D in the homestead as just a passing fad, but in the here now, and short term future, be prepared to have 3D devices shoved down your throat. Toshiba will be among those force feeding 3D tech to households this summer when the company releases its "3D Regza" LCD TV line.
"Based on the concept of high-quality 3D images, we will release products that are different from other companies," Toshiba said.
Toshiba was referring to its "2D-3D" conversion technology. As is often the case, the hardware is preceding the content, so while you wait for more 3D programming to hit the airwaves, Toshiba's upcoming displays will be able to convert normal images into 3D.
Europe will be the first to receive these upcoming displays, though Japan looks to figure prominently in Toshiba's 3D plans. The company said it plans to increase the ratio of 3D TVs among its TVs larger than 46 inches in Japan to 20 percent by the end of the year.