AUO: Xiamen LCD Module Plant Open

AU Optronics (AUO) announced the second LCD module plant in China. AUO’s new module plant is located in Xiamen, China where it joins the other plant that began volume production in April 2007. By the end of 2007 production capacity may reach 500,000 units per month for large-area LCD modules and 5,000,000 units per month for small/medium LCD modules. Many LCD companies have already setup LCD module plants in China. The modularizing process is very labor intensive and with China’s ultra-cheap labor, it is no wonder.

Source: DigiTimes

[tags]LCD Module Plant, AU Optronics, AUO[/tags]

Sharp: Environmentally Advanced Company

DigiTimes via Witsview: Sharp has decided to develop its “manufacturing complex for the 21st Century” by pouring US$3.3 billion into a 1.27 million m2 area in Sakai City, Osaka, Japan. The site will host a state-of-the-art LCD fab and a solar cell plant. The LCD plant will be a G10-class fab that can handle glass substrates with 2850 x 3050mm dimensions, which is 60% larger than the largest G8 currently in mass production. Total input capacity is expected to be 72,000 glass substrates per month starting with an initial glass substrate input capacity of 36,000 per month.

Construction will begin in November and mass production is expected to commence in March 2010. The solar cell plant will manufacture thin-film solar cells. Currently, Sharp is the world’s largest manufacturer of solar cells in terms of volume and touts a world’s best efficiency for thin-film solar cells. Sharp plans to generate 1 million kW per year from thin-film solar cells making the plant the world’s largest. Mass production will begin in March 2010, the same time as the G10 LCD plant. My question is: why have the LCD and solar cells separate?

TI DarkChip 4 DLP

TI’s DarkChip 4 is DLP chip that the company claims has a native contrast ratio of 15,000:1 that is 30% better than the previous generation chips. The DarkChip 4 will be incorporated into DLP products in 2008. In addition, TI states that colors are in the trillions. Combined with LED illumination, a DLP TV set with DarkChip 4 has a native contrast ratio of 100,000:1.

These contrast ratios are out of this world! I am not a big fan of DLP (I lean toward LCoS) but there seems to be continued improvements coming out of TI. As DLP and LCoS-based rear-projection TV sets become slimmer and as consumers want larger and larger TVs, there will soon be an inflection point that we will get to where rear-projection TVs become significantly more popular. For instance, starting from 70″ and larger HDTVs,  there is no other technology besides DLP and LCoS that provides a reasonable price.

Source: DigiTimes

[tags]Contrast Ratio, DarkChip 4, DLP, TI, Texas Instruments, LED Backlight[/tags]

BOE to Build G4.5 LCD Plant

BOE Technology Group announced its plans to build a G4.5 LCD plant. BOE Optronics Technology (BOE OT), a branch company of BOE Technology Group who owns 78.54% of BOE OT, will increase the monthly glass input capacity of its G5 LCD fab to 100,000 substrates in 2H’07. Currently, BOE OT’s G5 fab has a monthly input capacity of 85,000 glass substrates. The company reported 4.57 million LCD panel shipments in 1H’07.

A G4.5 LCD plant will, at most, be building standard-sized panels for LCD monitors, notebook PCs and portable devices. The investment needed to build a relatively small LCD plant will be significantly less than the mammoth G7 and G8 plants. Also, there are more engineers who can assist in operating a G4.5 plant compared to those with experiences at G7 and G8 plants.

Source: DigiTimes

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Panasonic China: Stops CRT TV Production

Panasonic has 5 TV production bases globally with one located in Shandong, China as part of Panasonic China. Panasonic has made the decision to stop production of CRT TVs and only focus on LCD TV production. There was no mention about whether Panasonic will continue to manufacture rear-projection TVs at the plant.

There is much that I do not know and it surprises me less and less as I find out that behind most of the best brands is a Chinese manufacturing plant. Not all is bad. Most of Apple’s goods are made in China. Even the iPhone is. As far as I can tell, the iPhone’s quality is up there: not perfect, but up there. So there are exceptions where Made in China means quality. But for most products, Made in China simply means cheap and low quality. I do hope that Panasonic-branded CRT TVs were of the iPhone kind. On a another note, too bad that such a good technology (CRT) is becoming extinct. As far as many are concerned, CRT technology is still the best for TV viewing. However, CRTs are disappearing for good reason: a very large and negative environmental impact and it probably messed up many backs of those who had to deliver the behemoth TVs weighing 200lbs or more.

Source: DigiTimes via Witsview

[tags]CRT TV, Panasonic, China[/tags]

Qisda and Daewoo to Make Small Medium LG TVs

Qisda, formerlly BenQ, and Daewoo Electronics will be building small/medium LCD TVs for LG Electronics. These LGE LCD TVs will be geared for the European market. Qisda will manufacture the smaller sizes (15″, 20″, 26″) while Daewoo will focus on 32″. LGE also has much larger TVs (37″+) but will manufacture them in-house. Qisda operates a LCD TV plant in the Czech Republic and will begin modularizing LCDs for AU Optronics in Q4’07. AUO is part of the BenQ Group.

China is a manufacturing power house, no doubt. But there are continued questions about quality about the products that the country manufactures. Some examples are: Using lead paint for toys geared for children and automobile tires that have exploded and killed are just two recent examples. BenQ manufactures most of its goods in China. So, would I purchase a 26″ LCD TV manufactured by BenQ, or Qisda? Probably not. I strive to maximize the value of my money, but not at the expense of health concerns or other hazards unforeseen. I would not even consider a Daewoo-made 32″. Korean manufacturing is quite a bit better, in general, than Chinese, but I wouldn’t put my dollars on Daewoo to make high-quality goods. Samsung and LG would be the only Korean manufacturers I would trust, and carefully at that.

Source: DigiTimes via Witsview

[tags]Qisda, Daewoo Electronics, LCD TV, LG Electronics, 15″, 20″, 26″, 32″, AU Optronics, BenQ, AUO, LG, LGE[/tags]

Korean Air Airbus A380: Cockpit Displays

AVING posted up some very nice pictures of the new Korean Air Airbus A380 jumbo plane. There seems to be at least 7 central portrait LCDs with another for one of the pilots and then a few more smaller ones. I know these LCDs are very expensive due to their ultra-tough specifications: they are firstly physically ruggedized (durable front), must be able to see them when there is direct sunlight and in darkness (transflective, the best there is), must be operational in very cold and very hot temperatures (most likely LED lighting solutions instead of CCFL), minuscule EMI interference with other electronic components, etc. The cockpit looks very high tech and interesting.


More pictures at AVING.

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HP MediaSmart 42″ and 47″ LCD TVs

HP MediaSmart TV

Size: 42″, 47″
Pixel Format: 1920 x 1080, Full HD, 1080p
Response Time: 6ms
Viewing Angle: 176/176
Input: HDMI (3), A/V, Ethernet
Sound: Integrated (2), HP Virtual Surround
Image Support: BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, TIFF
Video Support: AVI, DivX, DVR-MS, MPEG, WMV, XVID
Audio Support: AAC (Unprotected), MP3, WMA, WMA Pro
Special Features: 802.11a/b/g/n

This is a handsome unit, especially considering that it comes from an IT company, HP. HP has come a long way since its pocket calculators, printers, etc. Now HP wants a space in your living room. Unfortunately, there is a bit too much IT inside this TV. The first models, according to industry sources were very difficult to install and operate. I heard that they were a bit baffled when they were instructed to reboot the TV. Yes, we have come to rebooting TVs, well, those with HP MediaSmart TVs that is. I hope I never have to reboot my TV.
They come in two sizes 42″ and 47″ and both are 1080p, but no 120Hz, and no LED backlights. HP touts that its TVs “connect you to the digital media content on all the PCs on your home network and the Internet”. If this is true, and I am sure it is, I can only imaging the hassle of connecting and setting up every single PC you have at home, even if you have just two. There is also a HP MediaSmart TV’s online service that lets you access movies and videos. I haven’t seen or tested this new box, but I have a feeling that it won’t be as easy to use as it looks. I like the DivX and XVID support though!

Source: HP via Engadget

[tags]Full HD, 1920 x 1080, LCD TV, 42″, MediaSmart, 1080p, HP, Ethernet, 802.11n, 47″[/tags]

Sony VPL-VW200, VW60 SXRD: 1080p Projectors

Pixel Format: 1080p, Full HD, 1920 x 1080/24p
Contrast Ratio: 35,000:1 Dynamic
Brightness: 1000 cd/m2
Availability: September, 2007
Price: US$5,000

Pixel Format: 1080p, Full HD, 1920 x 1080/24p
Contrast Ratio: 35,000:1 Dynamic
Brightness: 1000 cd/m2
Refresh Rate: 120fps SXRD Panel, 3 Compensation Modes
Lens: Carl Zeiss Vario-Tesar
Lamp: Xenon
Color: x.v.Color (via HDMI)
Input: HDMI, Ethernet (Setup, Color Control via PC)
Availability: October, 2007
Price: US$15,000



These two units look very nice, but of course the VPL-VW200 (the second picture) looks quite a bit more sleek. I am generally not a fan of front projectors, but just looking at the VPL-VW200 wants me to reconsider. There are some advantages to having a projector: very large screens (100″+), I can put it away after watching a movie, light compared to a LCD, PDP or projection TV. There are drawbacks too that’s linked to the advantages: you have to set it up every time you want to watch a movie. The 120Hz, 1080p with 1000 cd/m2 of brightness will surely generate some fantastic video. However, at US$15,000, it is way beyond affordable for most.

Source: Engadget, Sony

[tags]Full HD, 1920 x 1080, Front Projector, 120Hz, SXRD, 1080p, Sony[/tags]

Samsung 30″ LCD: First DisplayPort LCD

Samsung 30″ LCD with DisplayPort

Size: 30″
Pixel Format: 2560 x 1600
LCD Technology: Super Patterned Vertical Alignment (S-PVA)
Viewing Angle: 180/180
Brightness: 300 cd/m2

Samsung announced the world’s first LCD using the DisplayPort video interface on July 25, 2007. DisplayPort is a next-generation interconnect that might replace VGA, DVI, LVDS and even HDMI. With DisplayPort, the 30″ LCD with a pixel format of 2560 x 1600 without any performance degradations as the graphics data bandwidth is more than double the fastest interfaces today at 10.8Gbps. Apple’s 30″ Cinema HD display requires a dual-link DVI connection. With Samsung’s new LCD only a single DisplayPort interface is required leading to smaller, simpler and eventually cheaper connections. Samsung worked closely with Genesis Microchip to develop a 4-lane, 2.7Gbps/lane interface chip that can process 2560 x 1600 pixels at 10-bit color depths. This single DisplayPort interface with that kind of capability would have required three DVI or four LVDS interface chips according to Samsung. “We are pleased to be the first LCD manufacturer in the world to create a panel with a DisplayPort interface. We have received many inquiries from computer integrators interested in DisplayPort-based LCD panels, which prompted an acceleration of our R&D for this first DisplayPort LCD panel,” said Brian Berkeley, Vice President, Samsung LCD Business, who is leading the company’s DisplayPort development efforts. Mass production of the 30″ DisplayPort panel is scheduled to begin in the Q2’08

Source: Samsung

[tags]Samsung, 30″, LCD Monitor, 2560 x 1600, DisplayPort, S-PVA[/tags]