The natural evolution of Apple‘s Cinema Displays would be toward incorporating LED backlights. High-end LCD TVs, ultra-portable notebook PCs and high-end notebook PCs are all moving toward LED backlights. Apple was the first to incorporate a 15.4″ LCD with a LED backlight into a notebook PC and was the first to do it again with a 17.0″ LCD on its MacBook Pro notebook PCs. Wouldn’t the next step in perfecting the LCD monitor include LED backlights? I definitely think so.
A long while back, I believe it was NEC that came out with the first LED backlit LCD monitor. LEDs from Lumileds were used. Although the technology generated some amazing pictures the price was prohibitive. And so was the thickness of the monitor. NEC is known to push the boundaries of performance and quality.
The LED was arranged in the back and because of technology limitations at the time, LEDs required some thickness for it to be diffused over a large area. Now, that limitation is largely gone with improvements optical film technologies as well as the LEDs themselves. You can make pretty thin LED backlit displays.
But to make it really thin, you need to place the LEDs on the bottom (e.g. notebook PC displays) or on the sides. With its IPS-based high-end LCD monitors being one of the most sought out by those who want absolute picture quality, it would be only a matter of time before we see LED backlit LCD monitors from NEC as well.
Edge-lit or side-lit LED backlights can be applied to LCD monitors to make it extremely thin. The LEDs are also quite rugged and significantly more rugged than CCFLs. In addition, with RGB LEDs you can improve the color gamut to over 100% NTSC, something professionals requiring extreme levels of color fidelity might approve. And finally, LEDs don’t require mercury to work so they are more earth friendly.
Imagine an ultra-thin 24″ Cinema HD Display that is LED backlit (side-lit to be exact) that sports a pixel format of 1920 x 1200, a color gamut of 100% NTSC or more and is driven by IPS technology. My first reaction would be to see if there was a wait list for it!