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Future Sony televisions to feature laser projection

12 Jan 2007

Amid the Las Vegas hype-a-thon that is the annual Consumer Electronics Show, Sony this week revealed the details of some next-generation televisions to be based on laser diode components.

Sony's future range of televisions will likely contain laser diodes, revealed the Japanese firm at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas (8-11 January).

The electronics company, which describes itself as "transforming into an entertainment powerhouse", demonstrated a 55-inch television that uses a laser projection system.

Laser-based televisions have been identified as a potential growth area for III-V chip manufacturers, with a number of companies currently developing technology for this application area (see related feature article).

In Vegas, Sony also showed off a mammoth 82-inch television with an LED backlight. Sony first incorporated LED technology in its high-end televisions more than two years ago (see related story), but, in general, LED television backlighting has yet to take off in a big way.

The US company Luminus Devices appears to be leading the LED backlight field currently with its "Phlatlight" technology, which has been adopted by a number of television makers in rear-projection systems. Rival LED makers have also been gearing up with new MOCVD reactors in anticipation of a rapid expansion of the large-area display backlighting market for high-brightness LEDs.

Sony also exhibited a prototype slimline 27-inch display that uses organic LEDs instead of III-V components. According to the company, mass production of similar 11-inch screens is close to being cleared, although the larger-area screens are still under development.

With the Blu-ray and high-definition DVD camps also trying to out-hype each other at CES, Sony was keen to point out that its US shipments of PlayStation3 games consoles - each of which features a blue-violet GaN laser diode - were on track over the recent holiday period.

Despite reports of shortages of the consoles, senior VP of marketing for Sony Computer Entertainment America Peter Dille said that one million PlayStation3s had been shipped to the US by the end of December.

Sony admitted previously that problems with GaN laser manufacturing had forced it to scale back the global launch of the PlayStation3 in November 2006.

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