Sony unveils new projector display technology

Sony has developed a new LCD (liquid crystal display) technology for use in office and home projectors and projection displays that offers a significant improvement in both resolution and contrast over current systems.

The Silicon Crystal Reflective Display (SXRD) technology was unveiled by the company in Tokyo on Wednesday along with a demonstration on a working prototype projector. Sony plans to launch products based on it during the company's next fiscal year, which runs from April to March 2004.

The SXRD panel measures just 0.78 inches (1.9 centimeters) across although it contains 2 million pixels and is capable of delivering a high-definition picture at 1,920 pixels by 1,080 pixels resolution. To get the panel so small, Sony has increased pixel density by 2.4 times and improved spacing between the pixels, at 0.35 microns on the new panel, by ten times over PolySilicon panels.

SXRD panels also offer much better contrast than current PolySilicon panels, said Makoto Kogure, president of the display and projector division of Sony's in-house home network company. By modifying the construction method to do away with spacers that normally sit between the silicon backplane and glass substrate and by vertically aligning the liquid crystal, a contrast ratio of 3000:1 has been achieved. This is three times that available from a PolySilicon panel in Sony's current top-of-the-line VW12HT home projector.

Sony estimates an annual growth rate of of about 15 percent for each of the next four years in the projector market, Tsutomo Yamashita, president of Sony's home network company said. The growth is being fueled by the increasing popularity of DVD Video and, the company hopes, the just-launched high definition digital television service in Japan, he said.

The Tokyo-based company will first use the SXRD devices in its own products and may offer them to competing manufacturers in the future, said Kogure. Looking ahead, he said the company is planning to improve the resolution, for example to realize a 4,000 pixel by 2,000 pixel panel, and make smaller panels, such as a 0.5 inch model.

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Martyn Williams.

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