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May 21, 2024

8K Round-Up from Display Week

The SID’s annual Display Week technical symposium and exhibition took place this year in San Jose, California.
The week started with the SID/DSCC Business Conference which emphasized the developments in the TV business. The TV business is critical to all of the industry as TVs absorb over 70% of the area of all displays made. What was slightly surprising to the display enthusiasts who love the deep blacks of OLEDs was that the OLED TV business is really not in a good way. Higher costs are hampering both the sales side and negatively impacting the potential profits for panel makers. Samsung developed the very high performing and highly regarded QD-OLED technology, but it is struggling to make the panels profitably. That makes it difficult to invest in expanding capacity.

On the other hand, miniLED TVs are continuing to grow in share because of their lower cost. TV buyers are faced by the choice of going with a smaller set if they choose OLED at a particular price, and the visible difference of OLED is partly offset by the performance of miniLED TVs. In the Display Week exhibition, Nanosys, which makes the Quantum Dots (QDs) that are used in QD-OLEDs and also in QD LCD TVs took three of the TVs rated most highly by independent reviewers, Rtings.com, and put them side by side at the event. While display connoisseurs could tell the difference, the difference in the prices of the three sets was much more than any visible difference. Understandably, with small price differences, buyers are choosing the cheaper sets.

The success of miniLED-based TVs will be significant for 8K, the Association believes, as the technology can be applied equally to 8K sets, whereas, as we have previously reported, it is really tricky to make 8K OLEDs – so are they are extremely expensive, where they are available at all.

At Display Week, the company with the most 8K was TCL CSOT which showed several existing or pre-announced products and showed one completely new one. In the existing category, it showed its 57” curved 32:9 8K Wide panel which is already used in a Samsung gaming monitor. Corning, the glass maker, revealed that the the curved monitor uses two separate layers of its glass. TCL CSOT also showed the 138” 32:9 display that we reported on recently. The very big display, intended for meeting rooms, uses a miniLED system to cover the join between the LCDs and at the show, the company did a good job in making the join close to invisible with its choice of content.

The TCL CSOT meeting room display. Image:Bob Raikes

Completely New Notebook Panel

Completely new, though was a 16” 8K notebook panel. That is equivalent to around 550ppi – about double the pixel resolution of ‘retina’ displays. We looked really closely, but even as close as possible, it was impossible to distinguish the pixels with the naked eye, so it looked very good. Brightness was 800 cd/m2 and color coverage was 100% of sRGB. No date was given for mass production, but the development was impressive.

Unfortunately, you can’t fully appreciate the high resolution of this 16″ 8K notebook panel in the image! Photo:Bob Raikes

Nearer to production was TCL CSOT’s 85” 8K panel based on its HVA LCD technology. It should be available from July 2024. The panel has a very high aperture ratio of 5.6% which is competitive with the 4K displays from most other vendors. Having a high aperture ratio (and so allowing more light through from the backlight) helps with energy efficiency.

The firm’s CEO, Jun Zhao, told us in an interview that TCL CSOT believes it has the most energy efficient products in the market in many of the categories that it supplies. The panel was the first of that kind of size to use 1G1D driving technology, the firm said and it is made in a four mask process (five is more normal) which further helps with price competitiveness.

BOE again showed its 110″ 16K panel, this time with 3D. Image:Bob Raikes

BOE Returns with 16K Panel

BOE showed its 16K LCD last year, and brought it back, but this time using it to show stereo 3D on the 110” panel. 3D was quite a theme at the show and we saw a number of autostereo 3D systems from Innolux, Leia and Mopic as well as others. As well as the 110″ 3D panel, BOE had a 32” model. Staff told us that this used a 16K panel, but it was only showing 4K resolution per eye. We queried this, but the technological details were ‘lost in translation’.
We were quite impressed with the autostereo (no glasses) 3D at the event, but other analysts and editors were less impressed. It seemed to the author that a lot of the improvement was because of better eye tracking. Improving the eye tracking allows more accurate development of the dual images presented.

Leia probably had the best performance of the 3D that was saw at the show and it showed a 32” monitor with 3D that is based on Dell’s 8K monitor. The firm told us that it was Dell’s biggest customer for that monitor. Leia’s products exploit technology developed by Dimenco, a Dutch company that they bought, that was a spin-out from Philips, which had been working on the technology since the early 1990s (when the author first saw it!). Leia showed us extracts from Avatar in 3D as it has permission to use the 8K content from James Cameron. Leia told us that it has pivoted away from its previous strategy of developing complete products towards a business model based on licensing its technology.

Innolux also joined in the 3D demonstrations. It showed a monitor with processing that could display stereo 3D that was delivered in a side-by-side video format.

Sadly, LG Display did not show any new developments in 8K, although it won the ‘Best in Show’ award last year for its 77” 8K OLED TV panel. Samsung was also short of 8K products as it focused on its OLED and QD-OLED products.

Big 8K News in the Papers

Sony was not present on the show floor, but presented a paper that explained that it is developing a native 8K LCOS chip for projection applications. Up to now, as far as we know, there have been no native 8K projection imaging systems. We plan to report on that paper shortly, along with other 8K material from the Symposium.

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