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What is Laser-TV? Competition for LCD and PLASMA Television?

The key component of non-laser DLP technology is an optical semiconductor (a Digital Micromirror Device or "DLP chip"), invented by TI nearly 20 years ago. It has called the chip "probably the world's most sophisticated light switch," with up to two-million hinge-mounted microscopic mirrors less than one-fifth the width of a human hair.

When the DLP chip is synchronized with a digital video signal, light source and projection lens, its flexible mirrors reflect digital images to a screen. The microscopic mirrors can reflex (blink on and off) a few thousand times per second. Much of TI's proprietary technology will be used with Mitsubishi's Laser TV, but source lighting from mercury bulbs will be replaced by the lasers.


It appears there is only one working Laser TV screen in existence for demo purposes for now; Mitsubishi is hesitant to show it off at trade shows because it still lacks suitable cabinetry and other non-technical aesthetics. A non-working cosmetic sample (see photo) of a 62-inch unit--along with the sole working screen demo--were featured at Mitsubishi's annual line show for dealers at its Huntington Beach, Calif., headquarters in April.

"We did display a working sample that was not in a finished cabinet [to] prove that we could produce a good HD picture in a finished cabinet using our laser technology," said Marty Zanfino, director of product development at Mitsubishi. Zanfino said the 62-inch diagonal screen will boast a depth of only about 10 inches and not require very much framing around the screen because advanced plastics will replace glass components in the rear projector, making the large unit lighter. (Plastics have replaced heavier glass casings in some current DLP products, as well.)

Arasor and Novalux began work on the laser TV project nearly two years ago and found interest among TV makers who were seeking alternative technologies to plasma and LCD for flat panel displays. Consumers have favored LCD because the displays are cheaper than plasma flat screens.


They also claim the displays will:

* be half the weight and cost of Plasma or LCD displays
* require around 25% of the power required by Plasma or LCD displays
* be very thin like Plasma and LCD displays are today
* have a very wide colour gamut
* have a 50,000 hour life

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