If OLED's the future, where does the technology fit into the present? Not anywhere, according to Sony, at least when talking about high definition television sets. Sony announced plans to end sales of OLED sets in Japan until costs come down.
Probably a good idea too, considering the only model Sony released was an 11-inch set that commanded roughly $2,222. That's barely larger than most netbooks, but a whole heck of a lot more expensive, to state the obvious.
This doesn't mean that Sony is turning its back on OLED technology in general, the company just wants no part in selling obscenely overpriced displays. Instead, Sony said it will focus on research and development, and may even dabble in overseas production.
"We will continue to consider new products and applications including OLED TVs," Sony spokesman Shigenori Yoshida said.
If the choices are to go big or go home, Panasonic (and NBC) will take the former. Just how big are we talking? Panasonic says it has been selected to provide its 152-inch Plasma display to NBC during the network's coverage of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games.
In addition to providing the world's largest plasma display, Panasonic also promised to serve up technical and engineering support.
"As a worldwide Olympic partner, Panasonic is honored to be able to provide NBC with our 152-inch Plasma Display for their coverage of the Vancouver Winter Games," said Nelkin. "Our 152-inch Plasma is the world's largest Plasma Display Panel and is the perfect technology on which to show all of the exciting, fast-paced action and stunning imagery of the Olympic Winter Games."
So what are the specs on a 152-inch display? Try 8.84 million pixels, or 4096 x 2160. That's four times the 1080p HD specification of 1920 x 1080. Panasonic says the screen size is equivalent to nine 50-inch plasmas with an effective viewing area of 11.2 feet.
We wonder how long it will take someone at NBC to hook up an Xbox 360.
We saw how splendid an IPS monitor can be when we reviewed Dell’s 24-inch UltraSharp U2410 in January. “Sometimes you have to pay to play,” we concluded. Moments after reaching that summit, we observed NEC’s 30-inch LCD3090 WQXi IPS panel looming before us. Fully aware that we could buy three U2410s and a Radeon HD 5870 to drive them for about the same amount of cash ($2,200, to be exact), we began our ascent.
The LCD3090 has a native resolution of 2560x1600 (a 16:10 aspect ratio), which is typical of 30-inch displays. This one is an eight-bit panel with programmable 12-bit lookup tables. It delivers 102 percent of the NTSC color space and 97.8 percent of the Adobe RGB color space. Inputs are limited to dual-link DVI-D with an odd HDCP on/off feature, and DVI-I. Why would you need to turn off HDCP? We’re not really sure.
There’s no media card reader or integrated USB hub; more importantly, there’s no DisplayPort support, either. But the stand tilts, swivels, and pivots; and if you still can’t find a comfortable position, you can mount it on an optional articulated arm using its standard VESA mount.
Go big or go home, right? Not at BenQ's headquarters, where thin is definitely in. The PC peripheral maker this week launched a line of high-contrast (of the dynamic variety) monitors that BenQ's marketing peeps claim are the thinnest in the industry, measuring only 15mm (that's 0.59 inches for the anti-metrics folks) thick.
These will be part of the company's new V series comprised of nine models in all. Sizes range from 18.5 to 24 inches, with the first model to land on shelves the 21.5-inch V2200. The V2200 will boast a 160-degree viewing angle, 10,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, and 5ms response time.
Every model in the V series will come with both DVI and VGA connections, while several will ship with HDMI 1.3, a headphone jack, or an anti-glare panel.
No word yet on pricing, but you'll find out soon enough. BenQ says it will start shipping the new panels this month and next in Taiwan, with worldwide availability slated for June.
“We have a lab in Korea that is currently working on developing a laptop with partially-transparent screen,” Samsung Electronics America's Reid Sullivan told PlusPlasticElectronics. “Soon, I imagine that all Samsung's audio-visual products will feature this technology. We want to be the first in this market.”
It appears as though transparent AMOLED displays have infatuated Samsung. It also plans to launch a see-through MP3 player christened IceTouch, which according to the report will be available in the early half of 2010. The IceTouch is likely to cost around $330. The real challenge for the consumer will be to think of a practical use for such gadgets once they cease to be a novelty.
It's all about the contrast, baby, or at least that's true over at BenQ's headquarters. The value-oriented peripheral maker this week announced a pair of 15.6-inch LED-backlit monitors -- G610HDAL and G610HDPL -- both of which boast a dynamic contrast ratio of 5,000,000:1.
In fact, the two screens share quite a bit in common. Both sport a 1366x768 resolution and are rated with an 8ms response time. And according to BenQ, the two new models are capable of automatically adjusting their brightness to room lighting conditions.
This brings us to the primary difference between the two. The G610HDAL claims a slighter brighter output of 250 nits courtesy of its glossy screen, while the G610HDPL has an anti-glare screen and produces 220 nits.
No word yet on when these will ship or what they'll cost.
One of NEC's solutions to cutting back on energy consumption is to go small, as in 17 inches, which is the size of NEC's latest 'green' monitor, the AS171. According to NEC, the AS171 with a 4:3 aspect ratio consumes 21 percent less power than its predecessor and uses half the amount of mercury in its design.
"The 17-inch AS171 display brings variety and value to AccuSync Series users," said Lynn Gu, Product Manager for NEC Display Solutions. "We continuously see a strong demand for the 17-inch standard aspect ratio from enterprise and small-to-medium business sectors, and our goal with this display is to offer improved green technology, energy efficiency, and eco-friendly features."
One of those features is a new carbon footprint meter for tracking your carbon savings. But probably of more value to SMBs is the 2-step ECO Mode technology, which allows users to switch between two energy-savings modes.
Other specs include a 1280 x 1024 resolution, VGA and DVI connectivity, 900:1 contrast ratio, 5ms response time, and tilt adjustability.
NEC will begin shipping the AS171 this month for $160, noting that the backlight is included in the three-year parts and labor warranty.
Lame name aside, Acer's first foray into 3D-capable monitors serves up 1,920x1,080 pixels along with a 120Hz refresh rate. But it's the 3D that's of most interest, and to help give images an extra dimension, you'll need to don a pair of Nvidia's 3D Vision active-shutter glasses.
"As 3D content becomes more widely available in popular games and videos, users desire computing products that can take advantage of these new capabilities," said Acer America's senior product marketing manager Irene Chan. "We are excited to offer Acer's first monitor to support 3D technology."
Other specs include an 80,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio; 300cd/m2 of brightness; a 2ms response time; over 72 percent of the NTSC color gamut; and HDMI, DVI, and VGA inputs.
Acer plans to start shipping the GD235HZ this month for $400. Tack on another $200 for Nvidia's 3D Vision Kit.
We're not sure if the same holds true in the U.S. market, but in Taiwan, Asus-branded LCD monitors are flying off the shelves, and at a rate faster than all the competition, DigiTimes' "industry sources" say.
More specifically, Asus nabbed 20 percent of the LCD monitor market in Taiwan in 2009. It was a tie for second place between Chimei and Acer, each of which nipped at Asus' heels with 18-19 percent of the market. Viewsonic came in third with 14-15 percent, and BenQ controlled 10 percent of the LCD monitor market.
Despite falling prices for larger screen monitors, 19-inch widescreen models continued to be the most popular in Asus' lineup. It probably helped that Asus slashed prices on 19-inch models before everyone else, marking them down to about $125.
After a long wait, the Video Electronics Standards Association, or VESA for short, announced it has finalized DisplayPort v1.2, doubling the data rate of the previous DisplayPort v1.1a standard and paving the way for higher performance 3D stereo display, higher resolutions and color depths, and faster refresh rates.
"DisplayPort v1.2 increases performance by doubling the maximum data transfer rate from 10.8Gbps to 21.6Gbps, greatly increasing display resolution, color depths, refresh rates, and multiple display capabilities," VESA said in its press release.
Other features of the updated spec include multi-streaming, which is the ability to transport multiple independent uncompressed display and audio streams over a single cable, support for high-speed, bi-directional data transfer, support for high-def audio formats, and synchronization assist between audio and video, multiple audio channels, and multiple audio sink devices using Global Time Code (GTC).