Samsung shows off LCDs with 2x HDTV resolution, 240 Hz

At a major display technology symposium this week, Samsung showed off a future HDTV with four times the resolution of a current 1080p screen, plus the first of its "Blue Phase" high-refresh displays.

During the Society for Information Display 2008 International Symposium currently taking place in Los Angeles, Samsung introduced several new products aimed more at grabbing headlines than striking bargains. First was its new 82-inch LCD TV panel that offers an impressive 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution and a 120 Hz refresh rate, though whose price and launch date are still unknown.

The 3840 x 2160 resolution gives high-def movies four times the real estate of current HDTVs available on the market today. Although HD movies with 1080p resolution will be facilitated by Blu-ray for as long as content providers publish discs, a high-def movie should still appear sharp on one of these screens. (In fact, four simultaneously might look just fine.)


Rather than use a traditional fluorescent backlight that is used in many HDTVs, Samsung elected to use an LED backlight that should help improve the black level and increase the contrast ratio for viewers.

Samsung remains the largest LCD panel supplier in the world, and promises this new TV offers viewers the opportunity to "watch motion pictures as if they are really in them. It is the optimal display for future TVs."

Eighty-two-inch displays are themselves nothing new, even in the LCD variety. Mitsubishi launched a similarly sized screen as early as 2003, though with standard HDTV resolution. Two years ago, LG Philips unveiled what it boasted as the largest LCD, with a 100-inch diagonal picture, but also at standard 1920 x 1080 resolution.

This week, Samsung is also introducing an 82-inch "e-board" that has a multi-touch screen the company hopes will help one day replace white boards and beam projectors. Using a 60 Hz UD LCD panel, it's the largest multi-touch screen on the market. E-boards are expected to increase in popularity as the price of LCD production continues to decline, but don't expect to see the screens in every office and school room any time soon.

And Samsung is demonstrating a "Blue Phase" LCD screen that is able to work at 240 Hz, which is twice the frame rate the high-end LCDs televisions operate at today. TVs that refresh at 120 Hz need physical layers inside of the television to help align the liquid crystal, but Samsung is claiming that crystals inside Samsung's Blue Phase align themselves, enabling double the refresh rate.

This despite the existence of research papers on the subject of blue phase technology, which clearly show the use of physical alignment layers.

Eliminating the need for Twisted Nematic and In-Plane Switching modes will also help reduce production costs so consumers will end up saving money -- so says Samsung. Furthermore, most high-end LCD TVs also utilize an overdrive circuit necessary to improve the video image quality. Typically, this is done by varying the voltage level between frames to help reduce the time required for transition between gray levels.

But Blue Phase displays, Samsung says, have eliminated the need for an overdrive circuit -- the very thing you'd think would be more than necessary for a display with twice the refresh rate. BetaNews is contacting Samsung's technology offices in Korea for more information as to how it substantiates these claims.

The South Korean company admitted while it has a working unit ready for demonstration, Blue Phase panels will not be ready for the consumer market until at least 2011. While it will likely be cheaper for consumers, Samsung did not estimate how much consumers can expect to save once Blue Phase is available in three years.

Samsung hopes the development of its Blue Phase mode helps bring LCD TVs closer to a real moving image, said Samsung executive vice president Souk Jun-hyung in a statement last week. The smoother movement on the screen will also reduce motion blur, though some critics claim that even 120 Hz TVs already have moment so smooth it actually is unnatural.

The SID conference is taking place all week until Friday.

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