All posts in HDTV

60″ Plasma HDTV w/ PenTile RGBG Now Available

Samsung is now selling a PenTile RGBG 60″ HDTV Plasma television,  in the F5500 and F5300 series models.  This has the same subpixel structure and layout as the (pre-S4 Diamond subpixel) PenTile OLED panels.  At Nouvoyance, we’ve been using a preproduction unit in our conference room for nearly a year, to test it in real world conditions, after we evaluated and measured it in our display lab.  We are quite happy with it.  The CNET review was mostly positive, save for some concern for loss of contrast in bright environments (like well lit TV studios).  However, for most home entertainment environments, this isn’t a problem.

The use of PenTile technology in plasma panels reduces the power usage of the display.  Given that a typical home TV is used for 34 hours a week, this is not a trivial concern for one’s electricity bill, nor for the power utilities.


SID’s 50th Anniversary – Then & Now

This past weekend marked a milestone for the electronic display industry, the 50th anniversary of the Society for Information Display (SID) which was celebrated at its birthplace, Boelter Hall at UCLA.  SID is the preeminent organization serving the display industry, sponsoring symposiums for display technology and display business.  Several of those early contributors have passed away in recent years.  Looking back 50 years, the industry was still using Nixie tubes and was only developing commercial CRT displays.  I have a clear memory of my early days at Xerox R&D as a co-op student more than 40 years ago, asking my boss what the ideal display would look like.  With only a moment’s thought he pointed to a memo on his desk and said that it would look just like this – paper, but would be instantly reconfigurable.

While displays have come a long way they still do not look as good as paper.  Even though paper doesn’t emit one photon of light, nobody ever says that it doesn’t look bright enough or colorful enough or flexible enough or thin enough or low power enough or sufficiently viewable from all angles.  One has to wonder if in 50 years we will yet have a display with the attributes of paper.

I could never have imagined in those early years  that anyone would ever complain that a display was too colorful.  Yet, that is exactly the conclusion of Ray Soniera of DisplayMate.  He says that the display in the Galaxy S3 is too colorful because it has a color gamut in excess of sRGB, a standard that was historically picked for studio monitors. The iPhone5 has an LCD that very closely matches sRGB, so presumably that make this better that the Galaxy S3 that has a gamut that is ~105% of 1953 NTSC

On the other hand, every TV showroom is filled with TVs that strive for 1953 NTSC color gamut, a gamut that is 41% larger than sRGB.  It was correctly noted by some bloggers that if one offered a TV with only sRGB consumers comparing TVs would be very unlikely to pick the sRGB model for their TV.  You need to be a judge of this attribute for yourself.  While sRGB has been the gamut standard for web content, smartphones are increasingly displaying video, where the standard has been NTSC.  There are those who now expect their smartphone to be able to display both video and web content with the color of the most demanding application.

At this link you can see a comparison of both NTSC and sRGB


When I have demonstrated my Galaxy S3, those people that I have polled have been very impressed with the color and the contrast.  None have said it has gaudy colors.

Ray also comments that the Galaxy S3 needs to be brighter.  On this point I might agree.  If you want to use the S3 in full sunlight it is difficult to compete with an LCD that is also partially transflective.  It takes considerable brightness to compete with the sun.  That said it is largely due to PenTile technology that the S3 display is as bright as it is.  Brightness correlates to current density.  Lifetime is affected by current density.  Thanks to PenTile which reduced current density, the S3 is still viewable in rather bright environments.

Neither the Galaxy S3 nor the iPhone 5 display are yet up to the standards of paper, but I must say that both of these displays have come a long way from where this industry began only 50 years ago.



Can PenTile RGBW be used for TV?

You bet!

Samsung SEC has built prototypes of a 32-inch FHD TV using PenTile RGBW with a white LED backlight.  This was demonstrated at the 2010 Flat Panel Display International (FPDI) conference in Makuhari, Japan.  This PenTile RGBW LCD  TV runs at about 55% the power of an equivalent brightness legacy RGB stripe panel showing the full range of multimedia applications.  The PenTile RGBW TV is capable of even higher savings for TV or video alone.

Due to the white subpixels, the white areas and reflections from things like the metal in a chrome bumper have a real zing that is not seen in conventional RGB stripe TVs.

Just like the mobile displays these are built with one-third fewer subpixels, but from only 2 meters away the pixels are seen as 48 cy/deg* of human vision where the pattern is not easily seen by the best of eyes.

* 48 cy/deg means that in one degree of human vision one can see 24 white lines and 24 black lines

Our Technology Demonstration at SID

For years, display makers have considered introducing field sequential color for TV applications. This technology doesn’t need any color filters, so it has great promise for very low power TV. The key issue has been an artifact known as “color breakup.” As viewers scan their eyes across the screen, it is possible to see colors separate. This is especially true for images such as black and white stripes.

For our prototype demonstration, we have collaborated with Samsung to develop PenTile RGBCW with FSC in order to demonstrate that color breakup can be almost entirely eliminated. And at the same time, it is possible to get extraordinary color gamut and very low power consumption through the use of RGB LEDs in a 2D dimming backlight. New algorithms allow us to smoothly stitch together FSC, PenTile RGBCW and the 2D RGB backlight to show what is possible for wide color and power savings of about 75% compared to legacy RGB stripe TVs.

If you’re going to be at Display Week 2011, you won’t want to miss this.

What to Expect from Us at SID

While PenTile is generally associated with mobile products, where customers have seen all of our current design-ins, we have been applying the technology to larger sizes as well.

At Display Week 2011 in Los Angeles, along with Samsung, we will demonstrate new technology for two applications…

  1. A 10.1” tablet demo using PenTile RGBW LCD, with the highest resolution ever made
    It runs at 55% of the power of an equivalent RGB stripe display and enables a thin and light tablet without sacrificing ultra-high resolution. This tablet is about the same pixel pitch as the highest resolution smart phones, but now in a 10.1-inch diagonal size. You’ll love it.
  2. The future of television
    For future TV, power savings will be critical. New technology from us and Samsung SEC combines a PenTile multiprimary LCD with field sequential color (FSC) and a 2D RGB LED backlight to achieve a very wide color gamut at the same time as the highest level of power savings. If you are display technologist, this demo will surprise you. You will see that it is now possible to remove color breakup, the main artifact associated with FSC.

Where Have I Seen PenTile Before?

PenTile technology has been incorporated into more than 70 high-resolution mobile products over the last three years, so you’ve seen it in a lot of places… though you may not have known it at the time.

There are two versions of this technology. One is called PenTile OLED, which has no white subpixel and uses an RGBG pattern of OLED subpixels. The other is PenTile RGBW technology.

PenTile OLED has been used most famously in phones like the Samsung Galaxy S and in digital cameras like the Samsung NX10.

PenTile RGBW LCDs have been used in phones like the Motorola Atrix.

It can just as easily be used in a GPS screen, portable video player, computer monitor, HDTV, electronic game or other high resolution phone or digital camera device.

The short answer to the question… you’ve seen PenTile displays all over the place.