Notes: 2009 DisplaySearch TV Ecosystem Conference

It’s 9:30am and traffic wasn’t too bad on 280 South getting to downtown San Jose. I like moving about after everyone gets to work. So here I am at the San Jose Marriott and listening… Come back often as I will be updating this post throughout the day.

Larger TVs will require higher data rate networks to showcase dynamic HD, 3D, Quad HD content. Corning is saying that MPEG2 is unacceptable and video should be shown in an uncompressed format. To do this the company is recommending using fiber as an interconnect.

Cree talked about supply constraints of LEDs due to performance. 1400-1500 LEDs are required for an average 46-inch LCD TV. For an edge-lit 46-inch the number shrinks down to 800-1200. The demand for LEDs for a single 46-inch LED backlit LCD TV is equivalent to 109 notebooks and 160 mobile phones. Cree works with packaging companies to match colors so specific requests from LCD manufacturers can be met. LED backlights for LCD TV applications require higher quality LEDs than today’s handset products. Overcoming thermal issues due to the high number of LEDs used become more important for LCD TV applications. LCD manufacturers are vertically integrating and adding reactors to begin manufacturing LEDs to combat a supply constraint.

I think Samsung will cause a lot of upheaval if the company decided to wholeheartedly enter the LED market. Samsung is not only one of the largest LCD panel manufacturer, it is tops in DRAM, flash, LCD TV sets, mobile phones, etc. Samsung knows a thing or two about manufacturing semiconductors as well as products that require expertise in light manipulation.

Vizio is next. CCFL backlight assembly has been going on for a long time and a lot of companies are very good at it. There have been significant advancements at reducing power requirements from CCFLs. Of course CCFL technology makes use of a poisonous substance mercury and proper disposal is critical. Lifetime to half brightness is about 50,000-60,000 hours. LED (low-power) is just 30,00 hours right now but has the potential reach 2x that of CCFL. LED backlights also has significant power savings even compared to the best CCFL backlights. Mercury is not used in LED backlights. Energy Star 4.0 will be implemented on May 2010 and will require a 78W power requirement for 32-inch LCD TVs. This is only possible with LED backlights but there is a supply constraint. The initial draft for Energy Star 5.0 that will be implemented on May 2012 will require a 55W power requirement. Power savings become more pronounced as the size gets bigger. Vizio’s current 55-inch LED backlit LCD TV consumes 168W compared to 244W on a CCFL backlit LCD TV, meeting and beating (by 5%) next year’s Energy Star 4.0. Edge-lit LED backlight allows for very slim LCD TVs but does not have a fast response time. The larger the TV quality becomes more important so a direct LED backlight with local dimming is where Vizio is headed instead of edge-lit TVs.

Energy Star points out there are 275 million TVs consuming more than 50 billion kWh of energy on an annual basis. Livingston Energy Innovations showed that that’s 4% of all household electricity use and enough to power all homes in the state of New York for an entire year. TVs are one of the largest consumers of electricity in the American home. Combine the TV with the surrounding electronics like DVRs and the total power consumption is equivalent to a refrigerator. There are some features that can significantly reduce power requirements:

  • Video mode: Automatic adjustments based on video modes like vivid, movie, sports, game, energy saving, etc.
  • Video mode optimization
  • Ambient light sensors: I personally don’t like automatic brightness adjustments because I expect a certain level of brightness and don’t like having to readjust getting used to different levels.
  • Presence detectors: The TV automatically shuts itself off when nobody is present in front of the TV. Hopefully the TV will not turn off and instead kick into video mute mode so you can still listen to the TV while nature calls.
  • Picture off mode: video mute, radio mode, etc.

I think the best way to reduce power consumption is to watch TV less. Get out of the house! I think it would help the overall US economy because you’re not wasting your life away watching TV. The TV actually sucks your brain power because you put your brain in sleep mode when you’re watching TV. So go out and bike, garden, walk…

Panasonic is big on 3D. 3D has been around for a long time but it is real this time. There is a strong commitment from studios. All future Disney & Dreamworks titles will be in 3D. There are two camps of 3D content: computer graphics and live action. Live action requires two cameras that can add weight and mechatronics. There are over 41 million people who have experienced 3D in theaters. According to the CEA, 50% of consumers are willing to pay more for a 3D capable TV. But the glasses! Frame sequential is the way to go according to Panasonic. Frame sequential preserves the full quality and works by displaying information for the left eye and then the right eye and back again. How do you get 3D into the home? 3D Blu-ray, 3D PC, 3D game consoles, etc. The next Blu-ray format will be able to play 3D on 3D-capable displays and 2D for backward compatibility. Panasonic launched a microsite at www.panasonic.com/3D today!

Table: 3D movies releases

Sony is up next. President Abraham Lincoln was rendered in 3D. William Friese-Greene was the first to make motion 3D back in 1889. Polarized systems for motion picture were used by 1939. So 3D has been around for a long long time: is 3D a fad? There are about 10,000 digital cinemas worldwide and of those about 6,300 are 3D and of those 2,400 are located in the US. More than 3,000 3D screens have been announced. But there some things to watch out for when creating 3D films: vertical parallax, excessive disparity, pseudo stereo (inversion), hyperstereo, boundary violations, occlusion violations, depth budget, transitions, temporal Artifacts (Frame Interleave), depth grading for screen size, etc. As you can see there are many 3D movie titles that have come out since 2009 and many more to look forward to. I’m particularly interested in Avatar.

HDMI was founded by Sony, Panasonic, Philips, Hitachi, Silicon Image, Thomson and Toshiba. The current 1.3 specification was ratified on June 2006. On June 2009 HDMI 1.4 was announced with some new features: HDMI Ethernet channel, audio return channel, 3D support, 4K2K support, more color spaces, and new connectors. The 3D support portion of 1.4 supports up to 1080p resolution and structures including: full side-by-side, half side-by-side, frame packing, field alternative, line alternative, left + depth, left + depth + gfx + gfx depth. For displays to work with HDMI 1.4 the display device must support all mandatory 3D formats. As for source devices it must support at least one of the mandatory 3D formats. The mandatory 3D formats include:

  • 60Hz: 1080p @ 23.98/24Hz frame packing, 720p @ 59.94/60Hz frame packing
  • 50Hz: 1080p @ 23.98/24Hz frame packing, 720p @ 50Hz frame packing

HDMI does not foresee any 3D broadcast standards on a worldwide basis but intends to announce a mandatory 3D format for broadcast-type content within one year from the launch of the HDMI 1.4 specification.

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