[CES] Sharp to Launch Aquos TVs Using Multi-primary Color Filter

Jan 8, 2010
Takuya Otani, Nikkei Electronics
A 68-inch LCD TV developed with the new technology
A 68-inch LCD TV developed with the new technology
[Click to enlarge image]
Explanation of the new technology
Explanation of the new technology
[Click to enlarge image]

Sharp Electronics Corp, the US unit of Sharp Corp, announced a new technology used for its Aquos LCD TVs at a press conference that took place the day before the opening of the 2010 International CES.

It is a technology to expand the color gamut by using RGB colors and yellow color for the color filter of an LCD panel. Sharp calls it "QuadPixel" technology.

The company plans to release LCD TVs using the new technology in the spring of 2010 in various regions of the world including North America. Thus far, many companies have prototyped "multi-primary color" displays. But Sharp will be the world's first company that will release such displays, it said.

Sharp cited two factors that contributed to the commercialization. Specifically, the company solved issues of brightness and cost.

As for the brightness, Sharp employed a panel that uses a photo-alignment technology called "UV2A" and was announced in September 2009.

"The use of a multi-primary color filter darkens the screen," the company said. "But the UV2A panel has a high aperture ratio and can prevent brightness from lowering."

As for the cost, it is an intrinsic issue with multi-primary color filters. This time, Sharp made the color filter by using inkjet technology instead of photolithography technology. The inkjet technology was developed in collaboration with Dai Nippon Printing Co Ltd and will be used in Sharp's new plant in Osaka, Japan.

"In the case of multi-primary color filters, inkjet technology has an advantage over photolithography technology in terms of cost," Sharp said.

The LCD TVs developed with the QuadPixel technology use white LEDs for the backlight (edge-light type). Sharp claims that the new LCD TVs are superior in power consumption, too, partly because of the LED backlight. While the power consumption of an existing 52-inch LCD TV (ASV panel + RGB color filter + CCFL backlight) is 230W, that of the 52-inch model of the new TV (UV2A panel + multi-primary color filter + LED backlight) is 115W.

The company plans to sell the new LCD TVs as the flagship models of Aquos TVs. They will come in sizes of 68, 60, 52, 46 and 40 inches. And the 40-inch model has the lowest price of US$1799.99.

Sharp declined to specify how much the color gamut was expanded by using the multi-primary color filter.