New features on 2007 displays seem to be focusing on two areas for flat-panel displays and micro-displays. Last year (2006) the big display story was the beginning of the migration from 720p screen resolutions to 1080p or 1920 x 1080. This year more and more manufacturers are now offering several 1080p displays, or companies like Mitsubishi are only offering 1080p displays This is almost revolutionary -- not just evolutionary. As well, HDMI 1.3 will finally start appearing on displays and other A/V products from Blu-ray/HD DVD players to A/V Receivers. Some HDMI 1.3-enabled models will also include CEC for one-button control. You just have to remember with CEC that all components must be CEC-compliant.
One of the most compelling features that is spreading like wild fire across LCD displays is 120 Hz frequency response over the standard 60 Hz frequency rate. If you double the refresh rate, you get a smoother picture, and help eliminate motion blur. By doubling the frequency from 60 to 120 Hz and inserting a black frame between image frames, it helps improve the overall image quality. The result is a much smoother image especially in scenes with rapid movement. This is now a step-up feature on all 1080p LCD HDTVs. And, it works in concert with shorter response times. Most higher-quality LCD TVs today have between 4 and 8 milli-second response time.
Originally, I thought that 120 Hz frequency response was only applicable to LCD displays especially because of lower re-fresh rates means a sharper and clearer image. Well, I guess that I'm wrong because the 120 Hz refresh rate is now turning up on micro-displays as well. First, I thought that Mitsubishi was an anomaly, but it has just turned up on Sony's new 2007 SXRD displays. Apparently, it doesn't matter if its DLP or SXRD technology, the 120 Hz frequency response seems to make a marked improvement over standard 60 Hz refresh rates. I'm reminded of a comment by a Pioneer TV engineer last year. He said to me that there was a great concern among TV design engineers over SED, and they were working on many different ways to combat SED innovations such robust colors and lightening response times. So, the adoption of 120 Hz frequency response across both LCD and micro-display is not surprising.
Another innovation that is finally appearing this year is slimmer micro-displays. It's funny. If you're in the micro-display business, you're optimistic about micro-displays future. If you're in the flat-panel business, you're predicting the quick demise for MD displays. To combat the gloom and doom predictions, micro-display manufacturers have been doing everything they possibly can to slim down the cabinet of the display. At Sony's press conference yesterday (June 6), it was apparent that SXRD has gone on a strict diet with cabinetry about 12-inches deep. Impressive! Both Mitsubishi and Samsung are now offering slimmer cabinetry for their 1080p DLP HDTVs. With a smaller footprint, these sets are lighter and take up a lot less space. And, placed on a base or stand, they look like a flat-panel. Of course, the argument of the micro-display manufacturers is that if you want a large-screen 1080p HDTV and are not placing it on the wall, a micro-display fits the bill. Yesterday, at Sony, there were two XBR SXRDs that come with bases in which the displays sit about a foot off of the base. This gives the illusion of the panel floating in air. Besides being innovative, you can also place a quality center channel speaker. Impressive!
These are just a couple of innovations that are affecting displays right now. We'll talk about more in the future. Stay tuned!