Can LPD Pick Up Where SED Left Off?

SED was too big a tease to let go of — the dream lives on.

By Cliff Roth

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Video/Imaging DesignWire
(2/11/2010 1:52:47 AM)

Remember SED? The Canon – Toshiba joint venture to produce flat panel displays with CRT picture quality went awry due to patent litigation (see this displayblog article for more details.) Meanwhile, and ironically, as LCD and plasma screens have taken over, the phosphor-based CRT technology is still widely considered the gold standard of picture quality.

Now a new player has entered the scene, in what appears to be yet another attempt to produce phosphor based picture quality — LPD (see Laser Phosphor Display (LPD) Technology Introduced) — in the long elusive flat panel form factor.

One of the odder twists of the course of consumer technology in recent years has been the veering away from better and better quality. In the early days of consumer electronics things kept looking and sounding ever better, as black and white turned to color and AM was followed by FM. But at a certain point things seemed to get “good enough,” and other considerations, such as portability and living room design aesthetics took priority over pure quality — hence MP3 files replaced CD audio, and LCD picture quality replaced CRTs.

I haven’t seen a demo of LPD, but if it’s anything like the demonstrations of SED I saw several years ago it might hold promise to reverse this trend, and finally deliver a TV set that’s both slimmer than CRTs and equal, or better in picture quality.

OLED technology holds this promise as well, but costs too much. Right now Prysm, the company behind LPD, is focusing on the digital signage market, where the energy efficiency of LPD can be a real selling point.

But as a television consumer, I hope this technology, or something like it, trickles down to TVs too. SED was too big a tease — the dream lives on.