Improving LCD TV

The popularity of flat-panel TVs with LCD (liquid-crystal display) screens was very much in evidence at CES 2005. From well-established names like Sharp and Toshiba to relative newcomers in the U.S. market like BenQ and Moxell, a good number of manufacturers displayed LCD models ranging from 15 to 55 inches. In the "future tech" category, Sharp won this year's size war with its 65-inch Aquos model, on display to remind visitors to its booth that LCD technology continues to be a viable competitor with plasma for big-screen TVs. And a number of outfits - including Sony, Philips, and JVC - are also working hard to improve LCD picture quality. Sony's Qualia 005 TV (available later this year for about $12,000) boasts 1080p resolution and rich, vibrant colors.

Sony calls its 46-inch, 1080p-resolution Qualia 005 (available later this year for about $12,000) "TriLuminous." Instead of a standard white fluorescent backlight for the liquid-crystal panel, it has eight rows of red, green, and blue LEDs. Additional technical details were in short supply, but I can personally vouch for the Qualia 005's image quality. Colors looked stunningly rich and vibrant, with very good shadow detail.

Philips, too, is pushing the envelope with its Aptura "Clear LCD" technology, which divides a panel's backlight into ten separately addressable zones whose light output can be adjusted in response to the onscreen image. The effect is to increase picture contrast and quicken the response time of the display's liquid crystals, which would otherwise tend to lag and smear on fast-motion scenes. I was impressed by how solid the picture looked in a demo of the new technology.

While most other companies have gone over to DLP (Digital Light Processing) technology for their big-screen rear-projection HDTVs, JVC continues to push LCoS (liquid crystal on silicon). In 2005, JVC's version of LCoS, called D-ILA, will produce the picture in no fewer than nine models ranging in size from 52 to 70 inches. The company's flagship HDTVs, the 61-inch HD-61FH96 and 70-inch HD-70FH96 (available this fall at a price to be determined), will feature 1080p-resolution display chips. JVC is also introducing a comprehensive flat-panel LCD TV line from 17 to 40 inches. Like the Philips models, JVC's new sets incorporate video processing to reduce motion lag and improve picture sharpness. < < Back to the International CES 2005 index