Cheaper, More Efficient NED TVs Could Replace Plasmas, LCDs

If you been eyeing a plasma or liquid crystal display (LCD) TV to watch that special movie with your loved ones -- think In America or The Green Mile", not Revenge of the Sith -- you may want wait just a little bit longer before making a purchase. An attractive alternative -- the nano-emissive display (NED) -- was unveiled by Motorola Monday at the Society for Information Display conference in Boston.

The differences and similarities between NEDs and LCDs and plasma TVs ought to grab your attention.

  • The display is wafer-thin, just one-eighth of an inch thick.
  • Images look just as bright and clear as they would on LCDs.
  • A nano-emissive display, which uses carbon nanotube technology, is easily viewable from all angles.
  • If major manufacturers jump on the bandwagon, production on high-definition NED sets could begin as early as 2007, and at the highly competitive and affordable price of under $1,000, because they are far cheaper to produce than LCDs.

Instead of using a cathode ray tube (CRT) or millions of tiny LED lights (LCD) to project an image, NED technology is an energy-saver that uses millions of accelerated electrons charged by just 5-10 volts of electricity, compared with 5,000 volts for LCD.

Acceptance of NED technology isn't a given, however, because other companies (Sharp and Canon) are also racing to create cheap HD alternatives, based on adapting CRTs to perform better in the digital age. One example, the surface-conduction electron-emitter (SED), uses a more stable but less efficient method to achieve a similar look to NED.

Technology Review May 23, 2005

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