From eWeek: Are Laser HDTVs on the Horizon? October 16, 2006Posted by fukumimi in electronics.
You betcha. (Or at least, we’re betting on it. Our firm has an investment in Novalux)
If eWeek had done its homework, it would have been aware that a couple of Japanese electronics giants have relationships with Novalux (Mitsubishi and Epson), and both Matsushita and Canon have also shown propriatary laser projection TV systems.
RPTV has come a long way, and improvements in screen and optics technologies have produced significant improvements in picture quality and form factor (JVC recently launched a RPTV which is less than 30cm thick which allows wall mounting – it is also significantly lighter than a PDP/LCD screen of comparable size, which also potentially means less reinforcement surgery for your walls).
Laser light engines will allow for even slimmer form factors due to simplified optics requirements and smaller and simpler light engines, reduced weight (again due to the light engine form factor/complexity and reduced optics), improved colour gamut, improved electrical efficiency and much improved light source lifetimes over existing UHP light bulb technology. Another often underlooked advantage of RPTV technology is its relative eco-friendly nature compared to LCD and PDP technologies. For a start, both LCD and PDP technologies require a lot of glass, which happens to contain not insignificant amounts of lead. Further, the semiconductor content in RPTVs is much, much smaller, which means a lot less semiconductor processing required for each unit. A laser based RPTV also has significant electrical efficiency advantages too.
There will be laser RPTV models on display at CES in Las Vegas in January, hopefully from several manufacturers.
Whilst PDP technology appears attractive on the shop floor with high brightness and apparently crisp images, a comparison of two properly calibrated machines will reveal the superiority of the RPTV devices for a high quality display. Of course, some people will prefer the over-hyped images projected by a badly configured PDP, in the same way that they will be attracted to the boom ‘n’ tizz aural nightmare of a boom box over a real hi-fi.
I’ve seen the future of high end TV in my home, and it is a laser RPTV. At least for the larger form factors and with the requisite ambient environment. (Optimally with a LCoS imaging panel, rather than a DLP implementation, as far as I am concerned)
There will no doubt be a market for PDP displays (especially in commercial settings perhaps, where the need for high brightness and wide viewing angle are pretty much mandatory), but LCD rules the sub-40 inch market and I foresee that next generation RPTVs will be dominant in the 50+ inch market, pushing out PDP. LCDs are growing larger in size too, but manufacturing difficulties and yield issues make mass production of 60+ inch LCDs at a competitive price point unrealistic.
Even at lower price points, the economic arguments for RPTV seem compelling. Certainly one does not need to invest $2-3 Billion for the infrastructure required to produce the required parts, and this must translate into lower prices for the consumer. Both the laser light source manufacturers and imaging device (DLP, LCoS) manufacturers seem confident that a (sustained) $1000 price point for a 60V display is achievable. I doubt that the same can be said for competing technologies, at least not the ones on the market now (or for SED, the Canon/Toshiba effort which has been delayed but may see the light of day next year, finally). Further afield, we may see polymer based display technologies (OLED and the like), but that is likely to be significantly beyond 2010, if they can get things like carrier mobility up to the levels required to display high quality video. (I do think the technical hurdles will be overcome in time, and then with the likes of inkjet printing techniques available will open the door to mass produced large format displays which will be thin and lightweight)