MANHASSET, N.Y. MicroDisplay Corp. is aiming at the high-definition-TV market with a single-panel LCoS (liquid-crystal-on-silicon) panel possessing 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution.
The San Pablo, Calif., supplier said the 0.82-inch-diagonal LCoS microdisplay is the smallest such part available, and expects it to find its way into consumer products, especially 40- to 65-inch projection TVs that should be available in about 18 months.
"It's difficult to fit that many pixels into a small panel," said Sandeep Gupta, president and chief executive of MicroDisplay, adding that the panel has been under development for two years.
Most LCoS solutions use three panels, which Gupta said are difficult to properly align and achieve satisactory pixel convergence.
MicroDisplay's major competitor in this arena, Philips Electronics, manufactures an LCoS panel measuring 1.15-inch diagonally, a bit larger than MicroDisplay's.
"MicroDisplay's solution buys smaller optics, and the fact that the display is smaller can buy cost savings," said Chris Chinnock, an analyst with Insight Media (Norwalk, Conn.).
Whether the company succeeds with the display will hinge on its ability to mass produce it, according to Chinnock, who noted that Philips has its own fab, while MicroDisplay must rely on manufacturing partners.
"They'll need to find a partner to establish a foundry, or partner with an existing LCoS foundry," he said.
Gupta said MicroDisplay's longstanding ties with manufacturing partners, some in Asia, have enabled it to create a successful fabless strategy. He also believes the company's considerable experience with LCoS displays the company was formed as an independent entity in 1995 after several years as a research group at M.I.T. will enable it to successfully compete.
"It takes 10 years for any display technology to come into production," Gupta said. "We have a long history in LCoS, and have built only single-panel LCoS solutions for the last eight years."
One issue possibly facing both MicroDisplay and Philips is the dearth of second sources, particularly in a market as cost-sensitive as consumer electronics. Gupta, however, said the issue would not become relevant until significant production is achieved.
MicroDisplay has begun sampling its new LCoS panel, and is scheduled to begin mass producing in 2004.