Tsutae Shinoda, president of Shinoda Plasma
Tsutae Shinoda, president of Shinoda Plasma
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Shinoda Plasma Corp will begin volume shipment of its proprietary Plasma Tube Array (PTA) display in the second half of 2008.

The company plans to initially provide a 3 × 2m module (equivalent to a 142-inch display) to set manufacturers. The module is expected to be priced at "several tens of million yen," said Tsutae Shinoda, president of the company.

The announcement was made at a press conference that took place in Shinoda Plasma's headquarters in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture in Japan Oct 26, 2007.

In preparation of the volume shipment, the company will start installing mass production facilities at its plant (site area: 4,000m2, floor area: 1,500m2) located in the headquarters in fiscal 2007. The maximum annual output of the plant is expected to be 200 units in terms of a 142-inch product measuring 3 × 2m.

Although the company did not specify its investment in its production facilities, "it is an order of magnitude lower than what would be invested in an LCD or PDP panel plant with the equivalent production scale," said Shinoda.

The company expects the shipment of about 10 units in fiscal 2008 and about 100 units in fiscal 2009.

"First of all, we are aiming at sales of ¥10 billion (US$87 million) in the initial phase," Shinoda said.

The company is reportedly having business negotiations with several set manufacturers.

The 3 × 2m module provided to set manufacturers weighs 60kg, and its power consumption is 1,200W when operated at a luminance of 1,000cd/m2. It has a pixel pitch of 3mm and supports the 720p HDTV resolution. The full On/Off contrast ratio is 10,000:1.

The module is composed of a "sub module," which is obtained by incorporating a data driver IC in a film-type display unit (display film), combined with a drive circuit and other components. The 1 × 1m sub module and the drive circuit are provided separately in the actual shipment in consideration for the convenience of transportation to the installation site.

The module can be assembled at the site by attaching six pieces of 1 × 1m sub modules and combining them with the drive circuit. Each sub module reportedly weighs less than 7 kg.

The PTA technology was developed by Shinoda, who is known as the inventor of PDP TV, when he was working as a fellow at Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. It has a structure in which an array of "plasma tubes" is sandwiched by upper and lower film electrodes.

The plasma tube is a 1mm diameter glass tube containing a discharge gas and fluorescent materials for R, G and B colors, etc. The module has a pixel pitch of 3mm because of the layout composed of plasma tubes for R, G and B colors arranged laterally. While the principle of light emission is similar to that of PDP, it features a lighter weight thanks to the adoption of a film substrate.