[CEATEC Highlight] FPD TVs Exhibited by Sharp, Sony, JVC and Hitachi

Oct 9, 2007
Naoki Tanaka, Nikkei Microdevices
A 1.9 cm-thick 32-inch LCD TV (Hitachi)
A 1.9 cm-thick 32-inch LCD TV (Hitachi)
[ If it clicks, the expanded picture will open ]

Representative TV manufactures, such as Sharp, Sony, JVC and Hitachi, all exhibited flat-panel display (FPD) TVs that are less than 4 cm thick and half as thick as their former products at CEATEC Japan 2007.

Their emphases on the thinness left the clear impression that "thinning" became a big trend in FPD TVs.

By thinning FPD TVs, TV and panel manufactures are seeking to suggest their new usage scenes. They aim to cultivate new markets not only with new CRT TVs but also with much more handy displays. They are thinking of, for example, a TV that can be hung on the wall like a picture and a TV that can be easily moved like a whiteboard to boost up FPD TVs on the second growth path.

"Thinning" is highly possible to be a trump because it is a clear difference from existing TVs.

A crop of large LCD TVs as thin as 2cm

Hitachi Ltd. came under the spotlight by realizing a 1.9 cm-thick large TV. It exhibited three prototypes of 32-inch LCD TVs with the name of "next-generation FPD TV" in the special theatrical room. By changing the positions of parts and thinning the backlights, it could make the 1.9 cm-thick TV. The company aims to mass-produce it within the year 2009 (See related article 1).

On the other hand, JVC declared to "release 3.7 cm-thick 42-inch LCD TVs from March 2008" and took the lead by the commercialization of product. JVC's FPD TV is 7.2 cm thick at the thickest part with a tuner and other devices integrated to the body.

A conclusive factor in the thinness is a self-developed backlight unit. The uniformity of luminance is achieved by thinning the backlights. JVC made use of the light diffusion technologies and simulation technologies accumulated through the technologies related to projection screen technologies. The LCD module was thinned from 35.3 mm to 20 mm, 15.3 mm thinner than the former product.

Sharp exhibited a prototype of the 2 cm-thick (display part) 52-inch LCD TV announced in August 2007. Sharp's LCD TV also has an embedded tuner. Nevertheless, it is only 2.9 cm thick at the thickest part, outrivaling other LCD TVs. Sharp plans to start operating the new LCD plant, which will be constructed in Sakai City, Osaka, by March 2010. And it will begin commercial production of the LCD panels in time with the opening of the new plant (See related article 2).

In the 10-inch class, OLED and LCD are competing with each other

In the 10-inch middle-sized class, Sony commercialized a 3 mm-thick (the thinnest part) OLED TV. It is priced at 200,000 yen (USD 1,717) and will be released Dec. 1, 2007. At the CEATEC, the company exhibited an array of "the world's first OLED TVs" in the center of its booth (See related article 3).

By using organic materials that spontaneously emit light when electricity passes through it, those TVs do not require backlights, which are necessary for LCD TVs, or discharge space needed for PDP TVs. Therefore, Sony realized "overwhelming thinness completely different from existing display devices," said Katsumi Ihara, the company's executive deputy president.

On the other hand, Sharp exhibited a 2.88 mm-thick (the thinnest part) 12.1-inch LCD panel. LEDs are used as backlights. The LCD panel has an edge light system where white LEDs are set at the upside of the panel. The system can be applied to LCD panels of up to about 15-inch size. Its commercial production date has not been decided yet. But the company will start shipping the samples as early as in November 2007, if requested by users (See related article 4).