COMDEX : Philips broadens LCD range

LG Philips LCD Co. Ltd. is demonstrating a new range of thin-film transistor liquid crystal displays (TFT-LCD) in Las Vegas this week that are due to start appearing in the first quarter of 2003.

The company has expanded its range of products for computers and TV screens with a 7 inch automotive seat-back display, a 23-inch monitor or high-definition television display and a 20.1-inch UXGA (Ultra Extended Graphics Array) display for desktop monitors.

They are being shown for the first time at the Comdex trade show, and will be plugged further at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) here in January, Bruce Berkoff, executive vice president of marketing, said Wednesday.

Like many companies in Las Vegas this week, Philips is not exhibiting on the Comdex show floor but is showing its products from a nearby hotel suite.

The 7-inch display is Philips LCD’s first product designed specifically for automobiles, with a viewing angle of 120 degrees left to right and 90 degrees up and down, and a wide temperature range to withstand the heat and cold of a car environment. The display will operate at between -20 and 70 degrees Celsius, according to a statement from the company.

While only a small proportion of cars currently have seat-back monitors, Berkoff is confident they will be in almost every new car by 2010. “It’ll be driven by DVD in the front-once there’s free DVD in the front of every car, that will push the displays,” he said.

The 23-inch product, 1.36 inches thick, has a Wide XGA (Extended Graphics Array) resolution of 1280 pixels x 768 pixels.

The third product announced, the 20.1-inch Ultra XGA display for desktop monitors, uses Super In-Plane Switching technology that gives a wider viewing angle and diminished gray color shift, giving a viewing angle and screen quality equivalent to that of a CRT (cathode ray tube) monitor, Philips LCD said in a statement.

“These mean we now have a range from 7-inch to 42-inch screens,” Berkoff said. The 42-inch screen on display is a test model, however, and the shipping product will not be available until the third quarter of 2003, he said.

TFT-LCD displays are becoming popular for monitors but the television market will be slower to take off, Berkoff said.

“It’s down to what I call ‘wife acceptance factor,’ the point when your wife sees the product and wants it, even though it’s more expensive than a standard screen. I think the technology will account for 10 per cent, 15 per cent of the television market by 2005,” he said.