VESA Approves DisplayPort Version 1.1 Standard to Help Display Connectivity Convergence

MILPITAS, Calif. — The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) announced in early April that its membership had approved version 1.1 of the DisplayPort interface standard for use in new designs of flat-panel displays, projectors, PCs and consumer-electronics devices.

According to VESA, DisplayPort 1.1 gives manufacturers of liquid-crystal-display (LCD) panels, monitors, graphics cards, PC chipsets, projectors, peripherals, components, and consumer electronics a next-generation digital interface that is designed to replace LVDS, DVI, and eventually VGA. DisplayPort provides the ability to connect to both internal and external displays with a common digital interface, which enables DisplayPort to carry pixels directly from any display source to any LCD panel, simplifying the design complexity that is present today in PCs and consumer-electronics devices.

The original DisplayPort standard was authored in May 2006, and DisplayPort 1.1 reflects an extensive amount of feedback from the industry and some changes that VESA hopes will enable broad adoption of the standard. Available throughout the industry as a free to use, open and extensible standard, DisplayPort is expected to accelerate adoption of secure digital outputs on PCs, enable higher levels of display performance, and introduce high-volume digital displays that are simpler, thinner, and easier to use than VGA.

"The benefits of version 1.1 are significant, and will encourage adoption of DisplayPort in new generations of computers and consumer-electronics equipment," said Bill Lempesis, VESA executive director, in a press release. "Our task groups and committees within VESA worked very hard to ensure that DisplayPort 1.1 satisfies the important objectives it is designed for, and as a result, this new version has widespread support among all the leading computer and consumer-electronics suppliers."

DisplayPort 1.1 provides for low-voltage and low-power operation, and enables improved interoperability and reduced EMI through its unique embedded clock architecture. VESA explained that DisplayPort offers significant advantages over DVI and VGA such as a small USB-sized connector with available latching, two-way display connectivity, optional audio support, higher performance than dual link DVI at 10.8 Gigabits per second, and a unique micro-packet architecture that enables new display features. In addition, DisplayPort 1.1 adds support for High Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) version 1.3, which enables viewing of protected content from Blu-ray and HD-DVD optical media over DisplayPort 1.1 connections.

"Genesis believes that DisplayPort enables a revolutionary new level of digital performance and scalability for graphics and video, with higher resolutions, refresh rates and color depth," stated Alan Kobayashi, director of strategy and architecture for Genesis Microchip.

A DisplayPort Interoperability Guideline that recommends best practices for providing DVI and HDMI connectivity via the DisplayPort connector and simple cable adapters is expected to be announced in May 2007.

— Michael Morgenthal

Samsung Develops High-Resolution LCD for Mobile Applications that Auto-Adjusts Brightness

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. announced in late March its latest display offering for the high-end mobile consumer-electronics market with a low-power-consumption liquid-crystal display (LCD) that automatically adjusts brightness based on its environment. Unveiled at Samsung's fourth annual Mobile Solution Forum in Taiwan, the display measures 2.1 inches and features qVGA resolution and an embedded temperature-compensation sensor that maintains a steady operational mode regardless of temperature change in its surroundings.

According to the company, the display is designed for use in high-end mobile phones, PDAs, and portable media players, and consumes 20% to 30% less power than other displays of similar size and resolution.

"Backlight brightness can be adaptively controlled depending on external luminance conditions," explained a Samsung representative. "Therefore, the power consumption reduction ratio can vary depending upon the lighting conditions when the phone is used."

The panel is Samsung's first commercial product to utilize the company's proprietary Adaptive Brightness Control (ABC) technology to achieve cost effectiveness and slim design. ABC is part of a cost-saving architecture that consists of tiny, highly responsive circuit sensors built into the display panel, which eliminates the need for photo-sensors and complex signal processing circuits, Samsung said.

The signal-processing function enables the display's brightness-compensation feature, converting ambient light measurements from the sensors into pulse-width modulation (PWM) signals, the company said in a statement. Those PWM signals then automatically signal the light-emitting-diode (LED) controller in the LCD backlight unit to adjust the screen brightness to provide optimal readability as outside lighting conditions change.

Samsung said it plans to produce the panel via its LCD Business Unit in the second half of 2007. Production will take place at Samsung's mobile-LCD manufacturing facilities in Korea. Company representatives could not comment further by press time.

— Jessica Quandt

Panasonic Separates Consumer, Commercial Display Units

SEACAUCUS, N.J. - Panasonic Corp. of North America has launched two new business units, making its consumer and professional display segments separate companies in hopes of improving organization and efficiency and getting Panasonic products to customers more quickly. The new units, Panasonic Display Co. and Panasonic Professional Display Co., will cover all of Panasonic's digital display technologies, including plasma and liquid-crystal display (LCD) TV.

According to Andrew Nelkin, the new head of Panasonic Professional Display Co., the separation of the consumer and professional units has created a system in which Panasonic can work more quickly and efficiently with its factories.

"The commercial and consumer ends have always been separated within our company," Nelkin explained. "The real change now is that we've created a domain system where we are closer to the factories than ever before in terms of organization. So both organizations should be faster and more responsive to each of the markets that they represent. The real benefit to everybody…is that the factories and the sales team are really one organization. We've managed to cut that down considerably."

Panasonic's professional display unit will cover displays used in areas such as digital signage, conference-room displays, and even pay-per-view movie systems for hotels, according to Nelkin. Most recently, the electronics giant announced deals for the installation of more than 5,000 high-definition (HD) plasma TVs at a Las Vegas hotel, 103-in. plasmas on the set of NBC's "Football Night in America," and a number of large-screen displays at Miami's Dolphin Stadium in Florida. The company's new consumer unit, which will be led by Hideaki Harada, will cover TV technologies for use in the home, such as LCD and plasma televisions.

"We have two very distinctly different products with two very distinctly different markets," Nelkin said.

"We don't want to change. We want to do better. Ultimately, we have to meet the needs and the demands of what our customers are telling us. By doing this, our goal is to get a firm grip on the leadership position in flat-panel television, whether it's in the commercial or consumer space," Nelkin added. "And we're strengthening both organizations. By strengthening both sides, we really want to make a run at never losing an order to our competition."

— Jessica Quandt

Seiko Signs Agreement to Mass Produce Nemoptic BiNem E-Paper Display Modules

MAGNY LES HAMEAUX, France and AKITA, Japan - E-paper display company Nempotic announced in mid-April it had subcontracted its BiNem technology to Seiko Instruments Inc. (SII), allowing Seiko to mass-produce the company's black-and-white, grayscale, and full-color bistable liquid-crystal-display (LCD) modules.

Nemoptic hailed the agreement as a significant step forward, allowing the company to secure the immediate availability of large industrial volumes of zero-power e-paper displays offering high optical performance at a competitive cost. Nemoptic and Seiko have signed an agreement for three years, with an option for annual renewal for subsequent years.

"The availability of a reliable high-volume source will bring about a radical change in themarketplace for e-paper displays," saidJacques Noels, CEO of Nempotic, in a company statement. "SII is the world-leading producer of CSTN (color super-twist nematic)-LCD displays, and it combines excellent technological expertise with a cost-competitive capability."

The high volume manufacturing of Nemoptic's bistable LCD displays will take place at SII's Microtechno plant, located in Akita, Japan. According to Nemoptic, SII's Microtechno plant has a worldwide reputation as one of the most modern sites for high-volume production of color super-twist nematic LCDs (CSTN-LCDs). Customers can expect to see the first units appear from the plant at the end of Q2 2007, Nemoptic said.

"We are very satisfied to add Nemoptic to our list of innovative customers," SII's STN Display Division manager Kokichi Ito said in the Nemoptic press release. "We believe that Nemoptic's BiNem technology is the best in the industry for e-paper applications, a market that we foresee will enjoy considerable growth in the industry."

Nemoptic is also currently exploring the electronic shelf label (ESL), e-newspaper, e-book, industrial application, and logistics and remote metering systems markets. The company will continue to maintain independent production facilities at its plant in Sweden, which currently produces BiNem display modules in small series.

— Staff Reports

Display Briefs

Samsung and Nokia announced in mid-April they would soon team up to achieve interoperability between the two companies' DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcast - Handheld)-enabled mobile devices and the open-standards-based Nokia network in a move the companies say will benefit handset manufacturers by opening a worldwide market for mobile TV applications. DVB-H technology enables the TV service consumers use at home to be broadcast to their mobile devices with excellent picture and reduced battery consumption, according to Samsung and Nokia. The handset manufacturers said they would work together to support solutions based on the open OMA BCAST standard available for operator partners interested in deploying multi-vendor mobile TV services and trials in 2007 and onward.

Hitachi Ltd. subsidiary Hitachi Plasma Patent Licensing Co. Ltd. (HPPL) in late April filed a patent infringement lawsuit againstLG Electronics Inc. and its subsidiary LG USA. The complaint, filed in a Texas United States District Court, alleges LG's plasma display panel (PDP) products infringe upon seven patents owned by HPPL. HPPL is seeking compensation for monetary damages, as well as a permanent injunction prohibiting LG from using the asserted patents and from importing LG's PDP products into or selling them in the U.S.

LG.Philips LCD (LPL) began full-scale mass production at its back-end LCD module plant in Kobierzyce, Poland on March 30, 2007. The company says it will produce LCD modules mainly for 32-in.-and-larger LCD TVs. LPL said it plans to expand the annual production capacity of the plant from an initial 3 million units to 11 million units by 2011.

Cambridge Display Technology (CDT) announced in late April that its technology is being featured in a new 20.8 in., full-color, P-OLED television display demonstrated by Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology (TMD). The super-thin display is based on TMD's LTPS technology coupled with CDT's light-emitting-polymer technology. The three (RGB) color-emitting layers use polymer organic electroluminescent materials, or P-OLEDs, and an ink-jet type printing process is used for deposition of each color, CDT said.

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