Where Do I Start?


There certainly is no shortage of interesting things to write about this month. Sony has announced a new partnership with rival Sharp and significant investment into a new factory to source LCDs for Sony's consumer TVs. Panasonic unveiled at CES a 150-in.-diagonal (yes, that's not a misprint) plasma TV that was made on its newest production line from a single sheet of glass (no tiling). Commercial OLED TVs have debuted in Japan – the initial rollout is small, but proof of intent from a promising technology with a lot of muscle behind it and a turbulent history. 3-D cinema is in the news with the upcoming special session at Display Week 2008, and its deployment in approximately 1300 theaters worldwide. As I started writing, I learned of the news being widely reported that Pioneer is planning to end its PDP manufacturing and form a supply agreement with rival Matsushita for 42-in. PDPs and possibly other sizes. There is never a dull moment in the display business. Fortunately, we provide coverage of these and many similar news items each month here in Information Display and also daily online at www.information display.org.

Today, I have the privilege of bringing to you another issue of Information Display, this one guest-edited by a good friend and former business partner, Lewis Collier. Lewis and I have been friends from college, but were reunited professionally when I joined him in 2000 at a small office of Anteon Corp. in Mystic, Connecticut. There, I first collaborated with him on the development of optical measurement systems for liquid-crystal–on–silicon (LCOS) microdisplays. Also under development at the Mystic facility was a technology for manipulating and compressing real-time video they explained as "Wavelet Compression." At the time, I was most impressed with how well it was suited to carrying video efficiently over a wireless interface. I was shown a number of remarkably high-quality full demonstrations of television and higher-resolution video streams using no more bandwidth than a single 802.11a channel. The transmitted images were reconstructed and displayed in real time showing little evidence of their journey – certainly much better quality than the MPEG-based implementations that were currently available. Since then, wavelet-compression technology seems to have attracted a fair amount of interest, and it is implemented in a variety of still- and moving-picture compression standards and engines such as JPEG2000, ECW, Dirac, and more. However, I have not seen any evidence of it being widely adopted for wireless video transmission – an opportunity that should not be overlooked.

Meanwhile, the team at Mystic is still working on this technology, now as part of Alion Corp., and in this month's issue we learn more about the ability to efficiently perform image enhancements in the wavelet domain from author and developer Barry Mapen. I'm grateful to Barry and the Alion team for supporting this article.

We also have a very interesting story on LED backlights and drivers from Suzanne Thomas and Steve Soos at Applied Concepts, Inc. I'll let Lewis give you the full introduction in his Guest Editorial, but I want to mention that included in Susan and Steve's article is some concrete data demonstrating a roughly 2:1 improvement in luminous efficiency using LEDs over CCFLs for LCD backlighting. If you have been following along of late, there has been much skepticism about the recent claims of light vs. power efficiencies from those developing LED backlights. I am convinced from the information I learned in January at the LA Chapter LED Symposium and the demonstrations and data presented by Applied Concepts that the potential of LED backlighting efficiency is being realized in designs today.

We also bring you this month a first look at some of the most exciting aspects of the upcoming SID International Symposium, Seminar, and Exhibition (Display Week 2008): the special session on 3-D Cinema to be presented Wednesday afternoon, May 21. Organizers Brian Berkeley from Samsung Electronics, Brian Schowengerdt from the University of Washington, and Rod Archer from RealD have arranged an all-star lineup of speakers and live demonstrations from companies including Dreamworks, Sony Imageworks, 3ality Digital Systems, Quantel, Dolby Laboratories, and RealD. Not only will the presentations be exciting, but RealD will be providing special silver screens, dual projectors, and glasses that will enable actual demos by the presenters. This will be an exciting event for all of us who will be attending and a major milestone in the history of the Symposium as well. Check out managing editor Michael Morgenthal's article previewing this special session and looking in-depth at why, this time around, 3-D looks like it is here to stay.

Meanwhile, exciting headlines keep coming; the days are getting longer, warmer, and brighter; and there continues to be no end of things to write about.

– Stephen P. Atwood