Whew, DisplayWeek 2015 just wrapped-up in San Jose and it was another great show. Loaded, as always, with tons of display news.
If you’re not familiar with DisplayWeek, it’s a unique event that’s sort like of an annual reunion for those in the business of making displays. It’s also been an unmatched source of display innovation news over the decades. TV technologies like LCD, Plasma, OLED, Quantum Dot and HD were all seen here first. Incredibly niche and geeky to the max but by far the best place to look for what’s coming next in the display-driven world of consumer electronics.
I’ve finally had a chance to recover from the information overload of a week packed full of meetings, process my notes and put some thoughts together here on this year’s top trends. Among all the innovations I saw, “immersive” seemed to be the overarching theme this year from huge, even higher resolution TVs to deeper color to new content and interactivity standards.
These were my top three takeaways from 2015:
rec.2020 color is here, it’s 5 years ahead of schedule and it looks awesome
We weren’t supposed to see commercially available displays that delivered on the massive rec.2020 color gamut until the Japan Olympics in 2020. Yet there were a number of Quantum Dot LCDs on the show floor this year showing off greater than 90% coverage of the rec.2020 color gamut.
3M’s 4K monitor, which achieved 93.7% of rec.2020 coverage by pairing an off-the-shelf LCD with Quantum Dot technology, was the most impressive to me among all the demos. I may be a bit biased of course, since Nanosys supplied the quantum dots for this display but it really had to be seen to be believed. Colors on the 3M display were both rich and accurate with an incredible 97.8% coverage of colors found in the Standard Object Color Spectra (SOCS) database.
We even saw a color filter materials maker talking up new blue filters that promise to push QD LCDs to over 96% coverage. Given the industry’s historical reticence to update color filter formulations this was a sure signal that there’s a lot of support for this gamut throughout the supply chain.
I bet we’ll see some products sooner than most expected. That’s a good thing because the unfortunate side effect from all of these rec.2020 demos is that the red on my TV at home is starting to look a seriously orange-y!
It’s certainly a buzzword but I’m not sure there’s a better descriptor for the slew of technologies that are making displays richer, more interactive and more productive tools for users. At the show this year, “immersive” technologies were everywhere from Cima Nanotech’s huge, ultrafast 55” touch display to Intel’s talk on depth sensing cameras, which allow devices to recognize our faces and hand gestures, to Technicolor’s presentation on next generation video standards that are bringing richer, more immersive content to our displays.
While I’m excited to see how each of these technologies will make displays more powerful and useful to consumers in the coming years, the next generation content stuff from Technicolor was most interesting to me.
That’s because, in recent years, there’s been a lot of discussion about the sort of “chicken and egg” problem faced by next generation video. Most in the industry agree that consumers want new features like High Dynamic Range (HDR), deep color (rec.2020) and sharper resolution (4K) among others. But, there’s little need for displays that deliver those features without content that’s mastered to take advantage of them and vice versa. The question has been who would move first, content creators or display makers?
The display industry answered this question in a big way at CES in January with a slew of new models from nearly every set maker that delivered on most of these next generation features.
Technicolor has a unique position between content creators and consumer electronics. They run one of the leading post-production facilities in Hollywood, manufacturer of a huge amount of physical media (who knew?) and also know a lot about color (Wizard of Oz anyone?). So it was great to see them share some of their experience and data around the value of next generation video experiences for consumers. According to their research, we’ll need to deliver at least 16 f-stops of dynamic range in order for our displays to match the capability of the human eye.
They also highlighted great progress with the recently announced UHD Alliance towards making sure that both our TVs and content take advantage of all that these next generation features have to offer.
Ultra, ultra high resolution
And, of course, it wouldn’t be a display show if someone didn’t set a resolution record. This year, it was BOE with a pretty astounding 82” 10K TV. Not a typo- that’s 10K as in 10,000 pixels wide. It wasn’t just big guys either. Tianma showed off a tablet-sized 10.4” display with effectively “7.6K” resolution. That’s nearly 850 PPI at that size.
Amazing stuff and a real manufacturing achievement. It will be interesting to see how long these records stand- IFA and CES are both right around the corner after all...
That’s it for this year, look forward to seeing everyone in San Francisco in 2016!