After two years of quietly developing and sampling customers with it's compact ColorCorner LCOS engine architecture, Unaxis (Balzers, Lichtenstein) has finally begun to promote the assembly publically. Unaxis uses a polarizing beam splitter (PBS), several optical elements, and two ColorSelect Filters from ColorLink to form the basis of a three-panel LCOS engine. Final products using the ColorCorner system from at least two, and perhaps four, companies are possible in 2001, says Unaxis.
There are perhaps 20 companies developing LCOS devices for both projection and virtual display applications. All these companies seek to differentiate themselves in their choice of materials, manufacturing methods, architectures, and business models they employ for fabrication. JVC, Hitachi, Three-Five Systems, Displaytech, Aurora Systems, MicroVue and many others have developed LCOS panels. So where are they, and when will they hit the marketplace you might ask?
The optical block (light engine) seams to be one stumbling blocks at this point with consumers tired of the lifespan and issues surrounding the use of bulb based models. To reach the consumer, stability and longevity will need to be addressed. A $500 bulb every year or so is not a good marketing point for a product that is already beyond the financial reaches of most.
Until then, let the hype from the microdisplay industry continue. They likely have recognized this and experimenting with Lasers or LEDs to remedy this problem.
That's an interesting point but I'm sure manufacturers at this point are pretty entrenched in the bulb type systems.
It's funny because there probably isn't a single person that didn't think "$500 bulb are they crazy?" upon buying or looking into their first projector. Eliminate this and the market would probably triple. There are many people working with lasers as we speak. The color palate, contrast and accuracy is said to be astonishing. And the costs are not as high as people have assumed. However, It will likely take a company with big pockets to be willing to change the landscape and break the current bulb cycle.
I've heard many reports of the ColorCorner light engine but have yet to see in an active product. Do the RCA Sceniums or that new Toshiba have it?
Also, I think many of the dozens companies thought the market would naturally evolve to just start using LCOS components. I'm pretty sure they have figured out now that just isn't true. They definatly wont survive as individual component parts. They are likely forming alliances now to deliver whole systems to OEMs making dropping a workable light engine into a display devise almost brainless. Sounds easy huh?
The ColorSwitch is a transparent device, containing three liquid crystal switches and patented technology for chromatically manipulating polarization. The ColorSwitchÃ¤ features independent electronic control of the RGB transmission levels providing additive and subtractive primary outputs as well as Black and White. Analog control permits active color balance and switching between display standards. Sequences can easily be changed on-the-fly, with no fundamental requirement for a repetitive periodic output. The architecture is robust, using the LC switches to determine luminance, without influencing chrominance during switching. Our additive drive-to-black design provides maximum brightness without color mixing during transitions.
The ColorSwitch is a solid-state alternative to conventional mechanical color wheels with the following advantages:
In conventional LCD panel terms that would equate to a lower level of video performance, but LCOS doesn't work that way. If you have a single imaging device in a projector you can generate better picture quality. If you use three panels in a system, like existing LCD projectors, then you have to put the image back together. Regardless of what any manufacturer might tell you, that's virtually impossible to do perfectly, because it has to be done to the order of two or three microns of accuracy, about the size of a medium-size bacteria. That's impossible in the real world.
The Display Material or Component of the Year category honors materials or components that are used in displays or display systems...
The Silver Award went to MOXTEK (Orem, Utah) for its ProFluxâ„¢ polarizer, which is made of a very-fine-pitch wire grid. The wire-grid polarizer tolerates the high light intensities and temperatures found in projectors, and is capable of contrast ratios much higher than those produced by conventional polarizing beam splitters.
ProFluxâ„¢ polarizers are superior to all other normal incidence polarizers:
Operate without degradation at high heat and light levels meeting required lifetimes >10,000 hours of
Operate at acceptance angles of Â± 20Âº without depolarization of the skew rays and without compensation films
Operate without degradation in typical commercial environments meeting required lifetimes >10,000 hours
Operate in combination with ProFluxâ„¢ beam splitters enabling system contrast of >10,000:1
I stopped by the 3-Five booth at the show a couple of days ago. Unfortunately there was no killer announcements regarding systems based on their 1920 panels. But it was very interesting to hear them talk about all the different color management systems that are being developed for LCOS (mostly using their smaller panels, but the techniques could also apply to the big one) As these gradually mature DLP should see some very interesting competition, especially with regards to price.
New Light Engine for Rear Projection TVs to be Demonstrated
LCoS Engine for Rear-Projection TV (RPTV) Market Offers Sharp, Vivid Images
Brillian Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Three-Five Systems, Inc. today announced that it will demonstrate a super high contrast 720p HDTV1 LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) -based light engine for the rear-projection television (RPTV) market at the Society for Information Display's (SID) International Symposium, Seminar, and Exhibition in Baltimore, MD.
Demonstrations will be conducted at the Baltimore Convention Center during a special breakfast event for attending media on May 21. Private demonstrations for OEMs/ODMs are available by appointment May 20-22.
The 720p HDTV1 light engine is based on the Vikuiti Optical Core from 3M and TFS' new Brillian BR768HC Microdisplay. The BR768HC utilizes TFS' proprietary LCoS cell construction with greatly improved contrast performance and is targeted at the high-quality, value segment of the product category. With contrast of 2000:1, the engine utilizing the BR768HC Microdisplay enables OEMs/ODMs to provide their customers with one of the highest contrast LCoS RPTV products in the consumer electronics marketplace. In addition, this 1280 x 768 microdisplay offers almost one million pixels on a 0.70" diagonal, making it compatible with a variety of optical designs.
A light engine consists of a lamp, power supply, microdisplays and associated drive electronics, a color management system, and a projection lens. These devices, when assembled into an engine, replace all of the image-related components in traditional CRT television products. The light engine is unique in that it is comprised of three tiny, high resolution LCoS Microdisplays and precision optics that separate light into its three primary colors, create the image and then recombine them to produce brilliantly sharp and vivid images beyond the capability of traditional display technologies.
This second-generation light engine is the result of more than two years of collaboration between TFS and 3M to develop technology to capitalize on the performance capability of the BR768HC microdisplays and is an evolution of the first-generation engine demonstrated at the International Consumer Electronics Show 2003 in January. 3M will offer the optical core to OEMs/ODMs as a reference design, enabling them customize it to their specific applications.
"Our patented new polarizing beam splitter (PBS) technology is helping manufacturers to realize the potential of LCoS by enabling a lower cost, higher efficiency engine based on the Vikuiti optical core," said Raj Patel, business manager, 3M Optical Systems Division. "We look forward to expanding applications of this technology into other emerging opportunities for rear projection displays in a variety of display designs and products."
The TFS/3M technology demonstration will feature a high performance 65" RPTV development platform, which is scalable to support a variety of screen sizes.
The TFS set at SID looked really good! TFS does not make RPTVs, but their prototype reference design was actually a really nice looking set! I think that a production model based on this engine would look great!
The reasons why this technology never quite "takes off" are manifold. Topping the list is that yield on the imagers is minimal -- still -- for almost everyone. And then getting the engine all assembled and working is hard -- still -- for almost everyone.
The fact those most of those 20 companies are the tech equivalent of mom and pops (like the undercapitalized Three-Five/Brillan/whatever) trying to run with giants does not help.
Philips explaining how 1 chip is superior to 3 is amusing at best.
OCLI ANNOUNCES BREAKTHROUGH IN LCOS ENGINE DESIGN
Baltimore - May 20, 2003 -- Optical Coating Laboratory, Inc. (OCLI), a JDS Uniphase Company (Nasdaq: JDSU and TSX: JDU) and Advanced Digital Optics, today announced the UltreXâ„¢ Light Engine for microdisplay rear projection television, today announced the UltreXâ„¢ Light Engine for micro-display rear projection television, a new LCoS engine architecture that solves the major technical issues that plagued earlier engine designs. The UltreX Light Engine is an ideal solution for high resolution (1920 x 1080), large screen (up to 70") rear projection televisions.
OCLI's UltreX architecture provides the color and polarization management necessary to produce a high-contrast, high-uniformity image. The mechanical structure for UltreX provides a secure mounting platform for liquid crystal on silicon (LCoS) panels that ensures convergence of pixels and is free from stress bi-refringent affects and thermally induced image variations.
"Providing our customers with innovative technical solutions for their display engine needs is our primary objective," noted Greg Miller, vice president and general manager of OCLI Products Division. "Our new UltreX Light Engine for the LCoS display market offers excellent performance in the critical areas of contrast, brightness, color and stability over time. The UltreX architecture is a better, more reliable, and less expensive alternative to the current technology on the marketplace."
Key performance parameters of the UltreX Light Engine include 13,000:1 sequential contrast, white/dark-state uniformity at 90%/85%, and color uniformity
UltreX Light Engine development kits will be available in August. For companies that want to jump-start the development process, UltreX Image Kernels will be available in June. The UltreX Image Kernel is the critical assembly for determining the contrast and color performance of the light engine. Production will begin in the third quarter of 2003.
SpatiaLight, Inc. (Nasdaq: HDTV) announced that it has entered into an agreement to develop and supply a 1920 pixel by 1080 pixel resolution LCoS microdisplay device with one of the largest Korean electronics manufacturers. This manufacturer plans to utilize this microdisplay in the development of a cost effective, large screen, 16:9 format, high definition television. Under the terms of the agreement the name of the manufacturer will not be disclosed at this time.
Working cooperatively during an initial testing period, the manufacturer will utilize optical engines incorporating SpatiaLight's proprietary imagEngineâ„¢ LCoS microdisplays to develop prototype LCoS televisions that meet the technical criteria established by the manufacturer. The manufacturer, with assistance from Spatialight, has agreed to develop video and drive electronics for this new display.
Pending successful development and testing of these large-screen, high-definition televisions, SpatiaLight and the manufacturer will enter into commercial negotiations for quantity purchases of SpatiaLight's proprietary LCoS microdisplay devices. This joint development agreement is subject to other conditions and the termination rights of the parties.
An optical engine is comprised of three SpatiaLight imagEngineâ„¢ LCoS microdisplays fitted onto a light engine. SpatiaLight currently offers an optical engine that was co-designed with Fuji Photo Optical Company, and is manufactured by Fuji. â€œAt true high-definition resolution, LCoS becomes a clear cost and performance leader over competing display technologies. SpatiaLight leverages its LCoS microdisplay technology by offering a single light engine designed to accommodate both 16:9 and 4:3 format displays and with resolutions from 1280 pixels by 768 pixels up to 1920 pixels by 1080 pixels. This provides OEM television manufacturers with an unparalled light-engine solution that can be easily and cost effectively incorporated across their entire RPTV line,â€ stated Dr. David Hakala, Chief Operating Officer of SpatiaLight.
Robert A. Olins, Chief Executive Officer of SpatiaLight stated, "We are very pleased to enter into a joint development project with a second large Korean electronics manufacturer. The commitment and confidence expressed by this new partner as well as Daewoo Electronics reaffirms our belief that SpatiaLight's proprietary LCoS technology will rapidly become an important factor in the global television and electronics marketplace. We are looking forward to further expanding our manufacturing capabilities to satisfy the objectives and business requirements of our new business associations, and we are excited about OEM interest in our newest LCoS microdisplay."
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