SID Display Week 2014 - Report and Photos

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SID Display Week 2014 - Report and Photos

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony For SID Display Week 2014
Photo of the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony For SID Display Week 2014. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

NOTE: CLICK ON PHOTO FOR LARGER VIEW

One of the benefits of covering home theater and home A/V for About.com is that I get a chance to attend and cover some key trade shows, such as CES and CEDIA that preview new products and trends.

However, although CES and CEDIA are great events to see what is the latest and greatest, there are other shows that provided a deeper look into the underlying technologies that actually go into the home theater and A/V products we buy and use.

One such show is SID Display Week, which was held this year (2014) in San Diego, CA from June 1 through the 6th, 2014.

SID is the Society for Information Display. SID is an organization that is devoted to all aspects of video display technology (academic research, development, manufacturing, and execution) that is destined for both professional, business, and consumer use. In other words, the core technologies behind the products you see and use.

SID provides a forum where everyone involved in advancing video display technologies can interact on both a professional and personal level.

To make this process easier, every year, SID assembles key institutions and companies from around the world that are involved in the video display technology industry, in the form of SID Display Week.

Shown in the above photo is the ribbon cutting ceremony, announced and performed by Amal Gosh, incoming SID president, that kicked off the exhibitor portion of Display Week 2014.

On the following 13 pages of this report, I present some photo highlights of the video display technologies shown on the exhibit floor at this year's Display Week, as well as a look, on the final page, at a special presentation on the early days of Plasma display technology.

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LG Display Booth - OLED Display Tech - SID Display Week 2014

LG Display Booth at SID Display Week 2014
Photo of OLED TVs Shown at the LG Display Booth - SID Display Week 2014. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

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There were many video display makers on hand at SID Display Week 2014. LG Display, the company that makes video display panels for LG and several other brands, was on hand with a large booth focusing on several key technologies.

Shown in the above photo is the OLED portion of LG Display's exhibit, with their 65, 77, and 55-inch LG-branded Curved OLED TVs that were shown first at CES 2014, and are expected to reach the consumer market later in 2014 or early 2015. LG currently has two 55-inch (one flat, one curved) OLED TVs available currently.

Also, OLED TVs weren't the only products featured. LG Display also showed several flexible OLED panels that are targeted for use in smaller devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and retail signage applications.

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21:9 Aspect Ratio TV and Monitor - LG Display Booth - SID Display Week 2014

21:9 Aspect Ratio TV and Monitor Shown at the LG Display Booth - SID Display Week 2014
Photo of 21:9 Aspect Ratio TV and Monitor at the LG Display Booth - SID Display Week 2014. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

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In addition to OLED, LG Display also brought two 21x9 aspect ratio displays to SID Display Week, their forthcoming 105-inch 4K Curved UHD LED/LCD TV and a prototype 34-inch 21x9 aspect ratio flat LED/LCD prototype video display incorporating IPS technology that allows for wider viewing angles without image fading.

Another video display technology that was shown (not pictured in this report), were commercial whiteboard displays, digital signage, and a display technology labeled M+.

According to information posted at the booth, M+ TV. According to information provided, M+ is a variation of LCD technology that adds a white sub-pixel to the traditional RGB LCD pixel structure that produces a much brighter image, while maintaining a lower power consumption profile. M+ TV panels are also compatible with 4K UHD resolution requirements, and IPS wide viewing angle technology.

It sounds to me like LG is borrowing on both its WRGB OLED technology, as well as taking as well as taking note of

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Samsung 4K UHD TVs On Display at SID Display Week 2014

Samsung 4K UHD TVs On Display at SID Dipslay Week 2014
Photo of the Samsung 105-inch 4K Panorama and 65-inch Curved UHD TVs - SID Display Week 2014. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

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Of course, if LG Display shows up to your event, then Samsung has to be there too.

As part of its contribution the SID Display Week exhibit floor, the Samsung Display Company brought two TVs that were shown at CES 2014, the 105-inch 21x9 aspect ratio 4K UHD LED/LCD Panorama TV, and a 65-inch 4K UHD LED/LCD Curved TV.

The 65-inch curved screen UHD TV is available now in the form of Samsung's UN65HU9000 (Compare Prices), while the 105-incher is expected to be available later in 2014 or early 2015 (undoubtedly at an astronomical price).

What was interesting, was that Samsung Display didn't emphasize OLED on as large a scale as LG, which may be in keeping with its recent announcement that it was pulling back some on large screen OLED products.

On the other hand, Samsung did show smaller screen OLED applications for smartphones and tablets.

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BOE Booth at SID Display Week 2014

BOE Booth at SID Display Week 2014
Photo of the BOE Booth at SID Display Week 2014. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

NOTE: CLICK ON PHOTO FOR LARGER VIEW

Korea-based LG Display and Samsung Display Company weren't the only higher-profile video display makers to exhibit at SID Display Week 2014. In fact, the company with the most visible booth on the floor (and the most impressive keynote speech deliverer) was China-based BOE.

Founded in just 1993, BOE has emerged as a significant player in the both the China and worldwide video display market. It holds about 20,000 usable patents, and, as of 2013, is responsible for 13% of the worlds video display manufacturing output (56% of the domestic China market). Its goal is to reach 26% Word Market penetration by 2016.

At its booth, BOE not only showed off WRGB OLED (most likely in association with LG Display), Oxide, Glasses-free 3D (in association with Dolby), and Mirror TV technologies, but also showed off the largest 8K LED/LCD video display so far, at 98-inches.

Previously, Sharp has shown 85-inch 2D and 3D 8K prototypes at trade shows, such as CES.

BOE is definitely a video display company to watch out for in the coming years.

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QD Vision Booth at SID Display Week 2014

QD Vision Booth at SID Display Week 2014
Photo of the QD Vision Booth at SID Display Week 2014. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

NOTE: CLICK ON PHOTO FOR LARGER VIEW

OLED has gotten a lot of hype about being the answer to all our TV image quality troubles, and, although the technology has been successfully applied in smartphone, tablet, and other small-screen video display applications, except for LG, and to a lesser extent, Samsung, it has remained an elusive solution for large screen video display applications on a consumer level, such as TVs.

As a result, Quantum Dot technology, which can be incorporated within the existing LED/LCD display infrastructure, can be a viable solution to OLED, and, at much less cost.

Quantum Dots are nano-sized emissive particles that, when stimulate by a light source (in the case of LCD TV application a Blue LED light), the dot emits color in specific bandwidths, depending on their size (larger dots skew towards red, smaller dots skew towards green).

When Quantum Dots of designated sizes are grouped together and then hit with a Blue LED light source, they can emit light across the entire color bandwidth required for video displays.

One company promoting this technology solution is QD Vision, who was on hand with an informative exhibit at SID Display Week 2014 promoting their Color IQ quantum dot solution.

Shown at the top left side of the above montage is a photo of their entire booth, on the right is a close-up of a traditional LED/LCD TV (left) compared to the a Quantum Dot-equipped TV (right) showing the difference in brightness and color (my camera doesn't do this justice - but you get the idea).

Also, on the bottom photo is a look at an actual Quantum Dot Edge Optic that can be used to enhance the performance of an LED/LCD TV. The "rod" is stuffed with quantum dots and can be inserted between the LED edge light and pixel layer of an LCD TV during the manufacturing process.

The advantage of this solution is that it is capable of boosting the brightness and color performance of an LED/LCD TV to near OLED levels with minimal manufacturing expense and without changing thickness, bezel profile, or adding any significant weight to the TV.

However, QD Vision isn't the only one with a Quantum Dot solution...

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Quantum Dot Film On Display At The Nanosys Booth - SID Display Week 2014

Quantum Dot Film On Display At The Nanosys Booth - SID Display Week 2014
Photo of Quantum Dot Film On Display At The Nanosys Booth - SID Display Week 2014. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

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QD Vision wasn't the only company at SID Display Week promoting Quantum Dot Technology, Nanosys was also on-hand showing off a Quantum Dot Solution that places the dots inside of a film form factor (QDEF), rather than "rods". This solution enables Quantum Dot technology to be used in LED/LCD TVs that incorporate Direct or Full Array LED blacklighting, rather than Edge-lighting. However, the trade-off is that Quantum Dot film is more expensive to manufacture and install than the solution offered by QD Vision.

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GroGlass Booth at SID Display Week 2014

Anti-Reflective Glass Demo at GroGlass Booth - SID Display Week 2014
Photo of Anti-Reflective Glass Demo at the GroGlass Booth - SID Display Week 2014. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

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One thing TV panel makers need to finish off a successful product is glass, lots of glass... However, not all grass is created equal. One factor to take into consideration is reflectivity.

Whether watching a TV at home, viewing your smartphone, tablet, or laptop P C, or viewing digital signage at the local shopping mall, regardless of the underlying technology is plasma, lcd, or oled, the image has to be viewable, and that means the glass that covers the display has to pass through the image generated by the display panel, as well as minimizing reflections coming in from outside light sources.

One company that that on-hand promoting their glass product was GroGlass. GroGlass manufacturers both non-reflective glass and acrylics for display applications.

Shown in the above photo is a close-up of GroGlass's side-by-side demonstration of commonly-used glass vs their non-reflective glass product. Note the reflection of me actually taking the photo on the right side, vs the no-reflection on the left side. It looks as if there is not glass present on the left side, but rest assured, there is.

However, although the results are impressive, the GroGlass product is expensive, which makes it more suited for used in video displays for commercial or high-end consumer use, and not so much for the average low-priced TV - at least for now...

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Corning Booth at SID Display Week 2014

Corning Booth at SID Display Week 2014
Photo of the GroGlass Booth at SID Display Week 2014. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

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So, as shown on the previous page, having glass that can minimize light reflections is a good idea, whether for a TV, tablet, smartphone, or digital signage display, but another factor is that the glass needs to be sturdy, especially for portable devices. This is where Corning comes in.

Corning's SID Display Exhibit showcased several types of lightweight, but heavy-duty Gorilla Glass, and substrates, for use in any type of product that incorporates video display.

Some of the products shown, in addition to Gorilla Glass, included: Willow Glass, EAGLE XG® Slim Glass Substrates, as well as Corning Laser Glass Cutting Technology.

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Ocular Booth at SID Display Week 2014

Ocular Booth at SID Display Week 2014
Photo of the Ocular Booth at SID Display Week 2014. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

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One display technology innovation that has taken hold in recent years is touchscreen. Touchscreen (as well as touchpad) technology are being incorporated into products that include video displays, such as smartphones, tablets, custom remote control systems, and even point-of-sale terminals. Also, touch control technology is also used in Blu-ray Disc players, audio components, and other devices.

One of the major suppliers of touchscreen technology to video display makers, that had an impressive exhibit at SID Display Week 2014, shown in the above photo, was Ocular (Not to be confused with Oculus VR, makers of the Oculus Rift).

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Pixel Interconnect Booth at SID Display Week 2014

Pixel Interconnect Booth at SID Display Week 2014
Photo of the Pixel Interconnect Booth at SID Display Week 2014. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

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Display panel makers and supporting companies make all the parts that go into our TV, but how does it all get put together?

Pixel Interconnect, the company booth shown above, is a maker and supplier of assembling equipment (and even entire assembly lines) that manufacturers use to laminate panels surfaces, as well as equipment to attach circuitry together, so the video display can be further assembled into a cabinet or case.

To promote their products, Pixel Interconnect actually brought both an operational circuit bonding (on the left) and film laminating (on the right) machine to the SID Display Week Exhibit Hall.

The machines shown are used in the manufacturing of small screen devices, such as smartphones and tablets. The same types of machines used in the large screen video display manufacturing process are much, much, larger (think how large they would have to be for an 80 or 90-inch TV!)

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Adhesive Research Booth at SID Display Week 2014

Adhesive Research Booth at SID Display Week 2014
Photo of the Adhesive Research Booth at SID Display Week 2014. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

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Another necessary ingredient in assembling a video display device is adhesive. One such company that provides adhesive products to the video display industry is Adhesive Research, who was on-hand to show their wares to the SID Display Week Attendees.

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3M Booth at SID Display Week 2014

3M Booth at SID Display Week 2014
Photo of the 3M Booth at SID Display Week 2014. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

NOTE: CLICK ON PHOTO FOR LARGER VIEW

Just because a manufacturer has a assembled all the parts for a top-notch video display device or TV, doesn't mean that the assembled display/TV is what business/professional clients or consumers are looking for

In other words, what are clients and consumers looking for in a video display?  What is important, color, brightness, contrast, resolution, 3D capability? Often times, clients and consumers are at the mercy of what the display manufacturer is pushing, rather than what fills a true practical need.

As a result of this possible gap between what manufacturers want your to buy and what your really want to buy, 3M, a major player in display technology research and development for both the professional and consumer markets, was on-hand at SID Display Week demonstrating a new survey tool, which they referred to as DQS (Display Quality Score).

The core of DQS is that it is designed to measure clients and consumers' "perception of display quality".

So far, DQS has been tested with a sample of consumers in six countries (USA, South Korea, Japan, China, Poland, and Spain). Using the same TV setups and adjustments in each test country, the participants were asked to judge what factors they saw on the screen were most important (color, brightness, contrast, resolution).

The initial results were very interesting, but the one that really stood out was the perception of display quality based on possible cultural differences of the participants. Although more extensive country and participants samples need to be used for more precise confirmation, initial results seem to indicated that there is a variation with regards to what is important, in terms, of video display quality based on country or cultural differences.

For one factor (the importance of color) - If you look at the chart shown on the bottom right photo (click for larger view), it appears that U.S. consumers feel that color is the most important factor in a good quality video display, whereas China consumers feel that color is less important in relation to other factors measured.

3M is planning to offer this tool, and its results, to Video Display manufacturers as an aid for fine tuning the characteristics of their TV and video display products for the maximum market impact on prospective purchasers in their target markets.

So, next time you buy a TV, what you see on the screen may be the result of 3M DQS, just as much as all the hardware that goes into it.

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50th Anniversary of Plasma Display Technology - SID Display Week 2014

50th Anniversary of the Plasma Display Technology Presentation at SID Display Week 2014
Photo of Early Plasma Display Technology Shown at SID Display Week 2014. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

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Of everything I saw at SID Display Week 2014, my favorite part of the gathering was the presentation acknowledging the 50th Anniversary of Plasma Display Technology.

Plasma TVs have been in the news a lot the past year or so, but not in a good way. Although Plasma TVs are preferred by many "videophiles" as providing the best possible image for TV and movie viewing, the general public has been moving away from Plasma and towards LCD in recent years.

As a result, two major things happened, in 2009, Pioneer stopped production on its legendary KURO plasmas, and then just last year (2013), after producing its best Plasma TV ever, the ZT60, Panasonic announced that it was both stopping production of the cutting-edge sets, was well as ending all research and development in Plasma Technology. Now, in the consumer Plasma TV market, only LG and Samsung remain, but there is more to the Plasma TV story.

UPDATE 7/02/14: Samsung Announces End To Plasma TV Production By End of 2014.

The Story of Plasma TV Began in July of 1964.

In pursuit of a practical graphics display device that could be used in an educational setting, Donald Bitzer (shown in the above photo), Gene Slottow, Professors at the University of Illinois, as well as then-graduate student Robert Wilson, invented the core technology that would later become the Plasma TV we know today. Some examples of their work were spotlighted at SID Display Week 2014 and are shown in the above photo montage.

Some of the key benchmark dates in the development of Plasma Display Technology include:

1967: 1-by-1-inch, 16x16 pixel monochrome Plasma panel capable of producing a 1/2 x 1/2-inch image with a 1 hour address time. Richard Lewis, of the Chicago Daily News Service, writes a report on Plasma display technology, dubbing it the "Vision Plate" and predicting that will someday replace CRT TVs.

1971: First Practical/Marketable Plasma display (Owens-Illinois). 512x512 pixel panel with 12-inch diagonal monochrome screen (shown on the left side in the photo at the top of this page - yes, the unit​ shown in the photo still works!).

1975: 1,000th Plato Graphics Terminal incorporating monochrome Plasma display technology delivered.

1978: NHK of Japan demonstrates first color Plasma display prototype (16-inch diagonal 4x3 screen).

1983: IBM announces 960x768 resolution monochrome Plasma graphic display for desktop computer use.

1989: First use of monochrome Plasma Displays in portable computers.

1992: Plasmaco announces 640x480 19-inch and 1280x1024 monochrome Plasma displays. Fujitsu introduces first 640x480 21-inch color Plasma TV.

1996: Fujitsu announces 42-inch 852x480 Plasma TV.

1997: Pioneer announces first 50-inch 1280x768 Plasma TV.

1999: Plasmaco reveals 60-inch 1366x768 Plasma TV prototype.

2004: Samsung displays 80-inch Plasma TV prototype at CES.

2006: Panasonic announces 103-inch 1080p Plasma TV (see photo from 2007 CES).

2008: Panasonic announces 150-inch 4K Plasma TV at CES.

2010: Panasonic displays 152-inch 3D 4K Plasma TV at CES.

2012: NHK/Panasonic show 145-inch 8K Super Hi-Vision Plasma TV Prototype.

2014 and Beyond: So where does Plasma go now? As part of the 50th anniversary commemoration, Dr Tsutae Shinoda of Shinoda Plasma, based in Kobe Japan, was on-hand to discuss, via slides and video, new applications for Plasma display technology, including video walls, digital signage, and more - including the ability of Plasma display technology to be applied in bendable and flexible screen form factors.

Since I do not have the rights to show the slides he presented, I will refer you to his company website, which illustrates his current plasma display panel products, as well as future concepts he hopes will carry the legacy plasma technology well into the 21st century - Official Shinoda Plasma Website (Japanese Version - English Version).

So, even though Plasma TVs are fading from the consumer market, the legacy of Plasma display technology may still have a home in other applications, as innovation continues.

SID Display Week 2014 - Final Comments

This concludes my report on SID Display Week 2014. What I have presented is a brief overview of the show - there was a lot more, including the presentation of dozens of technical papers on video display technology topics - a real feast for intensely technically minded, and a reminder of how much underlying research and experimentation goes into our commonly used TVs, smartphones, tablets, and other devices that incorporate video displays.

If you want to explore SID Display Week 2014 in more technical depth, the best source of reports online is Display Central.