Chinese Displays, Light-Field Displays, and Automotive Technology Lead Trends at Display Week 2015

Chinese Displays, Light-Field Displays, and Automotive Technology Lead Trends at Display Week 2015

Chinese display companies showed up in force this year, adding excitement to an already dazzling exhibit hall of displays in sizes ranging from micro to downright huge.  A couple of futuristic table-top displays and a wealth of automotive displays also commanded attention.  Information Display’s roving reporters were on the scene to describe these and other advances.

by Jenny Donelan

ONE OF THE BEST aspects of Display Week is discovering how much progress has been made from one year to the next.  Sometimes this progress is expected or hoped for – remember when the big OLED TVs finally hit the show floor a couple of years ago?  Sometimes it is surprising – be sure to read about micro-LEDs in contributor Ken Werner’s Display Week review on materials in this issue.  This year, the editors of Display Week compared notes after the show about what really impressed us.  We came up with three major themes: working light-field demonstrations, an aggressive ramp-up in the area of vehicle displays (they were everywhere at the show), and, last but not least, some major demos of large-area displays from Chinese manufacturers.

Our team of roving reporters blogged from the show about what they saw: Tom Fiske alerted us to what was going on in metrology; Steve Sechrist covered microdisplays, near-to-eye, and 3D; Ken Werner looked at new materials; and Geoff Walker wrote about touch.  If you missed these blog entries before, you can read them again.  Check out our writers’ impressions on Information Display’s show blog at:  And you can read their full articles on metrology, microdisplays and 3D, and materials in this issue.

As always, we are indebted to our contributors.  Here’s a quick look at highlights from their pieces in this issue, accompanied by a few of our own notes.  Here are the technologies that caught our eyes and our imaginations at the show, starting with some notable displays from China.

China Rises

Everyone in the industry knows that Chinese display manufacturing is now a powerhouse in terms of overall production.  This was the first year at Display Week, however, that products from China made such a strong appearance at the show.  These companies have made real progress in recent years in terms of innovation.  Among the many worthy Chinese firms in the exhibit hall (including the Innovation Zone) were certain standouts, including BOE, CCDL, CSOT, and SuperD.

As noted in the Best-in-Show article in this issue, BOE Technology Group won an award in the Large-Exhibit Category for its 82-in. 10K display.  With its vibrant imagery, this panel was one of those products that stopped many showgoers in their tracks.  Although the 10240 × 4320 pixel display was a prototype created to demonstrate how high high resolution can go, the company says that mass production of similar products is not far off.  It’s amazing to think that we might have TVs of this resolution in our living rooms in a couple of years – hopefully with some worthy content to go with them.

Another display that had showgoers pausing to admire it was a huge (20 square meters) LED-based 3D display from CCDL (Central China Display Laboratories) that showed life-size and larger imagery – pretty arresting when extremely large objects looked like they were coming right at you (Fig. 1).  This HD stereoscopic display for indoor use required glasses, but presented a fairly wide central viewing area for the 3D effect and could certainly be viewed by multiple people.  The pixel pitch of the demo display was 6 mm, with a resolution of 960 × 576.  CCDL also offers these indoor displays in 8- and 10-mm pixel pitches.

Fig. 1:  The team from CCDL stands in front of the company’s LED-based 3D display, providing an idea of how large this 3D display really was.  In the center is company president Chao Li.  Image courtesy CCDL.

Shenzhen-based China Star Optoelectronics Technology (CSOT) was also at Display Week with its 110-in. curved 4K TV (Fig. 2), claiming it as the “world’s largest” curved LCD TV, with dimensions of 2.4 × 1.4 m.  The set includes a 3840 × 2160 (4K × 2K) pixel display with 10-bit color at 60-Hz refresh, and a 50K:1 contrast.  CSOT product engineer Yuming Mo told Information Display contributing editor Steve Sechrist that at its thinnest point (the edges), the curved set is only 20 mm thick, with a curve radius of 5500 mm total.

Fig. 2:  The CSOT team at Display Week (shown here with Display Week contributing editor Steve Sechrist, third from right) is justifiably proud of its 110-in. 4K curved LCD TV.  Image courtesy Steve Sechrist.

SuperD, based in Shenzhen, China, has developed a second-screen mobile display monitor it calls 3D Box, which shows 2D content from smartphones or tablets in auto-stereoscopic 3D via a wireless connection with the help of its eye-tracking software.  (For more about CSOT and SuperD, see Sechrist’s Display Week review on microdisplays and 3D in this issue.)

Next-generation Displays in the I-Zone

Light-field and other 3D displays have thus far belonged to the “fairly futuristic” category of displays, but there are signs that this is changing – something we have been covering in ID for quite a while now.  Two companies in the Innovation Zone (Display Week’s special exhibit space for cutting-edge display technology in development) had table-top displays that went a good way toward bringing the future to us – or the other way around.   Zebra Imaging showed a holographic light-field 3D display with a self-contained real-time spatial 3D generator device incorporating a table-top display that it called the ZScape.  This was a full-color table-top display that did not require special eyewear and offered compatibility with most software platforms as well as interactivity with off-the-shelf peripherals such as 3D tracking wands and gloves and gaming devices including pointers.

Another exciting table-top display created a 3D image that multiple users could see and manipulate.  HoloDigilog’s display, from Korea’s Human Media Research Center, modified a conventional direct-view system with sub-viewing zones, a lenslet array, and light-field technology, with a QXGA (3840 × 2160 pixel resolution) flat-panel display as the base.  This display enabled multiple viewers to see a 3D image projected onto the 23.8-in.-diagonal table-top panel (Fig. 3).  According to Sechrist, who also wrote about this technology and the Zebra Imaging demo in his Display Week review on microdisplays and 3D in this issue, the product looked surprisingly good for an early table-top demonstration.

Fig. 3:  Holodigilog’s table-top panel display projects 3D imagery that can be seen and manipulated by multiple users.  Image courtesy Steve Sechrist.

Automotive Displays at Display Week

Display manufacturers, especially those companies dedicated to medical and industrial customers, have long shown vehicle displays at Display Week.  But where there used to be two or three such displays per exhibitor, there are now whole rows or sections of booths devoted to this application.  This year, Display Week also featured a special technical session track on vehicle displays and trends.  According to a recent report from IHS Technology, automotive displays are projected to grow 29.1% in 2015, and from what we saw at Display Week that figure sounds reasonable.

3M was one of the companies with a new emphasis on vehicle display.  The company was showing a line of films designed to enable brighter displays, reduce glare, and eliminate windshield reflection – all issues involved with integrating LCDs in vehicles.

Other companies with designated auto-motive display areas this year included Fujitsu, JDI, and Tianma Microelectronics USA, which shortly before the show rolled out two high-bright LCD panels with touch aimed at the automotive market.  Mention must also be made of Sharp for its free-form display technology that allows panels to be cut with curves and other novel shapes.  This will certainly open up dashboard design possibilities in the near future.  Read how the company arrived at this technology in Ken Werner’s review of materials in this issue.

These examples are but several of all that could be seen at Display Week this year.  Be sure to read our contributing editor’s offerings to find out more, and don’t miss Tom Fiske’s excellent update on metrology progress.  Display metrology may not make headlines in the mainstream press, but it underpins everything that display manufacturers do and is a vital piece of our industry.

Now that Display Week 2015 is behind us, it’s exciting to think about what next year’s top trends are going to be.  It seems safe to say that Chinese manufacturers will continue to make progress in terms of innovation and new products.  And we certainly look forward to more novel types of displays, such as those based on light fields and micro-LEDs.  We do know that next year will feature special session tracks on augmented and virtual reality as well as digital signage.  No doubt there will be surprises as well.  You will have to attend the show to discover them first hand.  •

Jenny Donelan is the Managing Editor of Information Display.  She can be reached at