15 Jan 2009
Overall girth and efficiency are now key product statistics for displays.
LEDs provided the ammunition as the world's leading electronics manufacturers battled at the 2009 International Consumer Electronics Show for the position of thinnest TV and smallest projector. A hitherto unseen level of high-profile display announcements at the 8–11 January show revolved around the sleek profile, high-quality images and energy saving promise that LEDs bring.
Samsung led the skinny LCD television pack at the Las Vegas, Nevada, event from Korean compatriot LG and Japanese brand JVC. LED backlights feature in Samsung's high-profile Series 7 models that range in size from 40 to 55 inches and boast 240 Hz refresh rates. These combine enhanced image quality and efficiency with an internet TV service from Yahoo! in the narrowest TVs reported at CES, at just 6.5 mm.
A hair's breadth wider was JVC's 7 mm thick, 5 kg, 32 inch LED backlit prototype. “Energy-efficient super-thin technology uses fewer natural resources, successfully balancing demand for thin, high-definition LCDs with environmental responsibility,” JVC trumpeted.
Although rather more bulky at a reported 23.8 mm, LG emphasized the “astonishing” picture quality of its 55 inch LED backlit LCDs. It credited its full array of LEDs with providing a 2 million-to-one dynamic contrast ratio, which is complemented by a 240 Hz refresh rate.
None of these models has yet been given an official price. However the 9.9 mm-thick Sony ZX-1 LED-backlit TV – the thinnest currently available – has recently hit the market in Europe at around $5000.
Desktop computer monitors slimmed down elsewhere at CES thanks to LED backlights, with Dell employing the technology to make its latest models 20&percent; thinner than their fluorescent backlit predecessors. The G-series 22 and 24 inch monitors also boast less than half the power consumption of previous versions.
Dell, Toshiba, Acer and Samsung also unveiled battery-powered mobile display projectors that use LEDs to provide a combination of efficiency and image quality.
Acer and Dell's projectors are approximately the size of a pocket dictionary, perhaps because they are likely to be carried in a bag alongside a notebook computer. The K10 projector that Acer promoted at CES was also revealed as using LEDs from US manufacturer Luminus Devices during the show. The K10 will soon be available for $450, while Dell's M109S projector is $499.
Toshiba and Samsung continue the miniaturization theme with pocket-sized products intended to interface with computers and smaller mobile devices. Samsung's MBP200 pico-projector can produce 480 x 320 pixel HVGA quality projection, while Toshiba's TDP-F10U boasts 800 x 600 SVGA images.