CES 2013 – My highlight from this year’s exposition: better than Apple’s retina screens and Color Reference monitors.

CES 2013 – My highlight from this year’s exposition: better than Apple’s retina screens and Color Reference monitors.

Posted by Steve

As expected, this new edition of the Consumer Electronics Show (aka CES) has been less than exciting. This will certainly be the year of the fitness gadgets. Everyone is trying to take on Fitbit and a few other pioneers in this domain. I will spare you the infinite list of low cost tablets to concentrate of what is, in my view, the highlight of the show for colorists in quest for a new reference display.

I won’t mention this hideous 80-something inch of television from Samsung to go straight to the most interesting company of the show this year: Sharp. They are pushing as hard as they can their IGZO technology and they hope, this will revolutionize the mobile display market.

But what is IGZO? Based on a collection of four materials (Indium, Gallium, Zinc and Oxide – hence the name), IGZO acts as an efficient semiconductor and an alternative to traditional amorphous silicon compounds. The company believes that IGZO can provide more powerful and efficient screen designs. This new technology has three advantages:

  1. High power-efficient:  due to its ability to intermittently power off hardware without losing picture, the displays are said to be as much as 90 per cent more efficient than regular screens.
  2. ultra-high density: we are talking beyond Retina density here. Even at this density, IGZO provides richer, livelier colors, deeper blacks and overall sharper images.
  3. ultra fast touch response: the screen has virtually no lag at all.

In addition to those points, IGZO can also take any shape (even flexible screens). So you understand that this screen technology is essentially aimed at the mobile market and we should, hopefully, see them in almost every high-definition, high-density mobile screens.

sharpBut wait, there’s more to this technology than the mobile market. Remember the UltraHD format I have talked about a few post ago? Have you read all the announced Ultra TV set from all constructors? Did you notice anything? Yes, all this UltraHD TV sets are huge with a regular density resolution because they are much easier to produce than smaller size screens. That’s why it is so hard to find a decent-sized 4k screen for grading. But Sharp just announced a new line of 32″ UltraHD IGZO screen with 4K resolution! (a non-touch and two 10-points touch screens)

As the company says:

The PN-K321 is Sharp’s latest ultra-high-definition display and features smaller transistors (TFTs) in the LCD panel compared to conventional displays, thereby increasing the amount of transmitted light per pixel. Because 4K2K displays enable clear, crisp display of large amounts of information ranging from small text to detailed images on one screen, they boost operational efficiency by sparing users the need to scroll frequently.

According to the spec list, the PN-K321 display will feature one DisplayPort, two HDMI ports, two 2-watt speakers, a 3.5-mm stereo jack, a 3.5-mm input jack, and a brightness of 250 cd/m2. The overall dimensions are approximately 750(W) x 35(D) x 441(H)-mm and the weight is approximately 7.5 kg. The non-touch monitor will be available in February in Japan for around $5,500 and later in the USA.

If this technology is as good as the hype leads us to believe, I guess we will see a lot of them in grading suite shortly, especially since the picture produced by OLED technology is still a bit aggressive.

Anyway, I can’t wait to see it for myself!

Steve's Blog - Jan 9, 2013 | Color Grading, News, Post
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