This past week I've been updating my TV databases, which I keep up-to-date on all screen sizes as new models are introduced. It took me ages to get all of the new 2007 models into the databases from the 2007 CES. It helps to know every single model that will be introduced in the coming months. For one thing, I can easily spot trends of specific features, or see which type of displays a particular manufacturer is a favoring. And, in some cases, this can change from year to year.
It can also bring to light certain surprises such as the re-emergence of 3LCD this year. It was a little over a year ago that Epson had announced that it had decided not to bring out 1080p 3LCD MicroDisplays. At the same time, it was perceived that other manufacturers, who also sold 3LCD displays, would pull back their 720p offerings. For all intent and purposes, it appeared that 3LCD displays were on the decline in both front and rear projector. Well, just like the song, "It ain't necessarily so." This is one of the benefits of keeping TV databases.
For example, right now I am seeing the beginning of a trend as some manufacturers are reducing the number of plasma models. Some manufactures, like Sony, no longer offer plasma TVs. Other manufacturers like Philips and Toshiba are also withdrawing from the market. Of course, LCDs are taking up a lot of the slack esp. now that they are being offered in larger screen sizes. As manufacturers move to larger LCD screen sizes, certain image defects were seen, which prompted the move to 1080p for most displays from most manufacturers in sizes 37-inch and above.
At the same time, because I keep databases, certain features are making a pronounced presence across LCD TV display lines. The biggest new feature, which was offered by the first time by companies like Hitachi, is the new 120Hz refresh rate over 60Hz. Essentially, by doubling the refresh rate helps reduce one of the biggest problems in LCDs -- namely, motion blur. Of course, every single manufacturer claims that their scheme is better than the competition. However, until you can get like models together side-by-side, it's anyone's guess as to which is better. Even stand-alone semiconductor companies such a Micronas are getting into the act by offering their own version of 120Hz refresh rate chipsets. And, in many cases, these stand-alone chipsets are far superior to what the manufacturers have come up with themselves.
By keeping TV databases on current products, it also allows me to get a glimpse into the future of next-generation possibilities. We are all frustrated these days about what is going on with Canon and Nano-Proprietary in regards to SED. I definitely looked forward to Toshiba's 55-inch SED HDTV that I wanted to see for Christmas 2007. Maybe Toshiba will try and obtain a license directly from Nano-Proprietary? I can only hope.
However, SED is not the only game in town vying for a spot as a next-generation display. At Sony's recent 2007 line show, the company showed us prototypes of OLED displays. One sample looked like a portable DVD player with an 8-inch or 9-inch display. Sony also showed a 27-inch example at CES. Of course, Sony recently spun off FED technology into a separate R&D unit. Sony is not looking a just one technology, but two as possible future replacements for LCD and other flat-panel displays (or maybe even SXRD). Other companies like Samsung are looking into Carbon Nanotube and FED products as possibly 2008 or 2009 display products. Of course, there's also the rumor that it has started talked with Nano-Proprietary for a license for SED. And, let's not forget TI's DLP technology moving away from color wheels and lamps in favor of LED and laser lighting, which also reduces the depth of these displays. DLP and other MicroDisplay technology makes a viable alternative to expensive large-screen 1080p LCD and Plasma TV displays above 50-inches.
The bottom line is that by keeping databases on TV products it allows me to see current product offerings, new features, and maybe -- just maybe -- a glimpse into the future. Stay tuned!