3D Based on LCDs Poised to Win at Home

Despite the fact that the 3D image produced by DLP-based rear projection TVs look great and that plasma-based 3D offerings have entered the fray, the simple fact is that LCDs dominate home displays. It follows, therefore, that for 3D to become a big winner in the home, the display needs to be based on an LCD. The biggest problem in implementing full resolution stereoscopic 3D on a LCD has been the slow response time of the display. Up to now, development of faster panels specifically suited and intended for 3D applications has not occurred. As there has not been sufficient pull from the marketplace, makers of LCDs have had little incentive to develop such LCDs. All hope, however, need not be lost.

Separate and apart from 3D, makers of LCDs have two reasons to want to make faster LCDs:
1) A faster LCD will minimize blur in an image that contains fast-moving objects. Doubling the normal refresh speed of 60 Hz to 120 Hz goes a long way to accomplishing blur reduction.

2) Field sequential color can be implemented if the LCD can operate at 180 Hz. The elimination of the color filter array within the LCD allows a significant cost reduction. At 360 Hz, blur-reduced color sequential images can be produced. With all this incentive to produce faster LCDs, the makers of LCDs have responded.

The added speed in these displays can be used to implement stereoscopic 3D. With 120 Hz display capability, 60 flicker free images can be presented to each eye, each second. At 240 Hz, 3D with minimized blur can be produced. At 360 Hz, color sequential, 3D images are possible. At 720 Hz, blur-reduced color sequential 3D images become possible.

The latest, fast-response LCD product announcement came from LG Display. The company’s new Trumotion 480 Hz LCD TV panel is offered as a poster child, demonstrating that the technologies needed to produce LCDs suitable for stereoscopic 3D are now, at least, close to possible. LG Display’s scanning backlight technology enables a backlight to be repeatedly turned on and off to reduce motion blur. Combining the company’s 240 Hz panel technology, the display can refresh 480 images per second with a Motion Picture Response Time (MPRT) of 4 ms.

LG plans to begin shipping a 47-inch LCD TV panel with 480 Hz capability from the company’s seventh-generation production line in Paju, Gyeonggi Province during the second half of 2009. At this time, the company has declined to provide pricing or initial volume targets. LG plans to showcase the 480 Hz panels at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Our take on the situation is that all makers of LCDs will move to produce panels with a faster response so as to minimize blur and enable color sequential operation. With this being the case, fast LCD technology and products can be expected to proliferate and enable 3D in the home. The quality of this prediction will likely be determined within the year.

By Art Berman, DisplayDaily