Displays capable of showing higher-quality images than those broadcast by TV stations, ambient displays discreetly blended with a living environment and green displays that have no negative impact on the environment even if they continue to increase in number.
Many manufacturers exhibited technologies to realize those visions at CEATEC JAPAN 2008 (Fig 1~3).
Among the displays seeking improved reality, ultra definition technologies unveiled by Toshiba Corp and Hitachi Ltd drew interest (See related article 1, 2). The technologies convert SD (standard definition) and DVD quality video into full HD class video.
Those technologies are obviously oriented toward the goal of rendering very realistic images on a display that supports an ultra-high definition beyond the maximum ability of broadcasts. They up-convert full HD video, which are quickly spreading in Japan, to the even higher resolution 4K2K and 8K4K video formats.
It can be said that we might be able to enjoy "4K2K" and "8K4K" super real video (Fig 1), which Victor Company of Japan Ltd (JVC) demonstrated using its projectors, at home before long.
Definition is not the only element that can advance beyond the ability of broadcasts. A number of exhibitors also presented displays that support higher color quality than the broadcast standard at this year's CEATEC.
Sharp Corp, Sony Corp, JVC and some other companies showcased their LCD TVs that used LED backlights to achieve a much wider color range than the NTSC standard (See related article 3). Mitsubishi Electric Corp, on the other hand, revealed a laser-backlit rear projection TV, which will debut in the US in this fall, and visitors formed a long queue in front of its demonstration room.
Many manufacturers also exhibited "stereoscopic displays" that enable viewers to see 3D (three-dimensional) video rather than the 2D (two-dimensional) video that accounts for almost the entire amount of current broadcast content.
Panasonic Corp's "3D full HD plasma theater system" gained such popularity that the company quickly ran out of the tickets for the exhibit. Because the system alternately displays images for the right eye and the left eye, there is no need to split the display in half and use one half for the right eye and the other half for the left. The system can, therefore, render full HD 3D video with no degradation in spatial resolution (See related article 4).
JVC's "real time 2D/3D conversion technology," which can easily convert existing video content into 3D video and display it, was also popular. The company has almost completed the development of the technology and can commercialize the technology at anytime, if needed, JVC said. The company revealed a 72-inch 3D display that can be seen with the naked eye in collaboration with the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT).
Pioneer Corp displayed the "3D Floating Vision," which it began to produce by order just recently. Demand is strong for game consoles, kiosk terminals and digital signage applications, the company said.
In addition to these companies, NEC LCD Technologies Ltd and Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology Co Ltd exhibited LCD panels that can display 3D images.
Integrated with homes, towns and offices
Many exhibitors also highlighted "ambient" displays that discreetly blend in with the living environment at this year's CEATEC. Sharp and Toshiba, for example, proposed new displays that can fit into houses.
Sharp proposed "picture mode," which allows users to enjoy decorating a wall in their homes by using flat panel TVs on which images of the world's famous paintings are shown (Fig 4). What differs from normal paintings is the fact that those TVs can easily switch and display 14 famous paintings on their screens.
Toshiba, on the other hand, proposed propping a large-screen flat panel display against a wall as a new style of TV installation at home. Toshiba insisted this style is more practical than hanging a TV on the wall.
This year's CEATEC also represented the rapidly advancing move to blend displays in the office, as seen in the exhibits concerning digital signage, which enables content to be rewritten and video to be streamed on electronic displays that will replace standard signboards found in cities and towns.
Just like Mitsubishi Electric, which extensively highlighted its "digital signage solutions" by securing a large space for the relevant exhibits at its booth (Fig 5), many exhibitors were advocating digital signage as their primary theme.
From the perspective of display technology, a number of exhibitors presented electronic paper devices that have an unobtrusive paper-like display quality, as well as technologies to display images floating in the air.
Citizen Seimitsu Co Ltd and Hitachi displayed electronic paper devices. Citizen Seimitsu uses both electrophoresis displays and ferroelectric LCDs depending on applications. The company proposes segmented electrophoresis displays for applications that require flexibility and ferroelectric LCDs for applications that require dot matrix display (Fig 6).
Hitachi showcased a prototype of a removable hard disc equipped with an electrophoresis display. The hard disc displays how much free space is left and what content is recorded on the disc, using the electronic paper module like an indicator or a label (Fig 7).
Sumitomo 3M Ltd and Tohoku University presented their technologies to display images as if they were floating in the air. Both of their technologies feature the capability to achieve vivid images even in bright environments.
The key technology that enabled the capability is resin sheets. Sumitomo 3M developed a resin sheet that absorbs external light and efficiently make only the light from the projector visible, and demonstrated image display using this sheet (Fig 2).
Tohoku University developed another resin sheet that deflects and spreads the incident light and disclosed a "mid-air display" using the sheet (Fig 8). Also, the university exhibited a 3D display and a "frameless display" using the same sheet.
A number of LCD TVs coming with "LED + local luminance control"
In terms of green technologies, many exhibitors presented low power technologies for large TVs. Manufacturers recently began to adopt LED backlight-based local dimming technology, which is seen as the key solution to lower power consumption of LCD TVs, to their products in earnest.
Following Sony, which announced new LCD TVs based on this technology in August, Sharp unveiled new products at the first day of CEATEC. JVC and Dolby Japan KK also showcased their technologies. Hitachi presented a prototype LCD TV that halved power consumption using an LED backlight system, although not revealing the underlying technology.
Meanwhile, Sony, Toshiba and other firms displayed cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) backlit LCD TVs, the mainstream products in the market, whose power consumption was cut by revising the optical film and the CCFL (Fig 9, 10).
Sharp emphasized low-power models that are run by solar cells. The company prototyped and exhibited a 20-inch LCD TV that can be driven by solar cells of less than 40W, as well as a 52-inch LCD TV that can be driven by a solar cell module almost as large as its screen (Fig 3).
The aforementioned laser-backlit rear projection TV by Mitsubishi featured low power consumption as well. The 65-inch TV realized a low power of 135W.