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Laser TV to topple plasma

By Stephen Fenech
October 10, 2006

IF you're one of many Australians agonising over a flat TV choice between plasma and LCD, a new technology has been developed that could soon make that choice irrelevant.

Laser TV, available in Australia in 2007, boasts double the clarity of its predecessors for less money.

Developed by Silicon Valley-company Arasor, Laser TV uses an optical drive chip to turn infrared laser into red, blue and green light to generate images on a screen.

And Australia can take a lot of the credit for the breakthrough with local investors funding the technology to become a commercial application.

Unveiled for the first time in Australia yesterday, the Laser TV produces a picture which features deep blacks, rich colour and almost 3D-like picture depth complete with a full high definition resolution of 1920 x 1080.

Up to eight high profile manufacturers are looking to invest in the technology while Mitsubishi, already a popular manufacturer of consumer electronics, announced it will be bringing a Laser TV to market in the US in the second half of 2007.

Australia should see its first Laser TVs in 2008.

Korean electronics giant Samsung has also publicly expressed interest in the technology. Laser TVs, like plasma and LCD, will have the same slim form factor and be available in a range of sizes.

Arasor says Laser TVs are up to 30 per cent cheaper to produce which could result in products being available to the consumer thousands of dollars cheaper especially in the larger screen sizes.

The technology will also be utilised to create full high definition home theatre projectors.

Larry Marshall, Arasor's Australian co-chairman, says Australia is in a powerful position to take full advantage of what could be the next technology boom.

"For years we have been talking about the advantages of doing high quality low cost research and development in Australia,'' he said.

"Australia has the opportunity to drive the consumer optoelectronics revolution,''

According to Arasor, Laser TV has a number of advantages over plasma which includes being a third lighter and using 25 per cent less power.

Plasmas, which are filled with phosphorous gases, on some occasions have been known to suffer 'burn in' when displaying static images for extended periods - a problem Laser TV owners will not have to worry about.

Laser TV can also display fast moving images without ghosting or image smearing, a drawback for some LCD screens with slow response times.

LCD and plasmas can produce about half the colour gamut, which is the amount of colour which can be viewed by the human eye, whereas Laser TV can produce up to 90 per cent.

Jean-Michel Pelaprat, CEO of Novalux, the company who has co-designed the laser components of the TV says the technology could also find its way to mobile phones and laptops as a way to project an image on a wall.


At October 10, 2006 at 10:44 AM Anonymous said...

Ben. Nice article. Please explain how Laser TV differs from DLP. How does the Microvision solution compete against DLP?


At October 10, 2006 at 1:57 PM Anonymous said...

Was it ever confirmed whether Novalux is the company that Microvision is co-developing the green laser with?

At October 10, 2006 at 3:02 PM Anonymous said...

More than just a bit interesting that the Novalux Website is using the exact same butterfly image to demo their laser color display AND they also claim to be able to fit their laser projector into a cell phone. Appears to a casual observer that there is some connection between Microvision and Novalux. Or perhaps they are just two completely unrealated companies developing the same technology and doing business in a paralell universe?

At October 10, 2006 at 3:10 PM Anonymous said...

Novalux looks like a MVIS off-shoot, or perhaps the other way around?

At October 10, 2006 at 3:51 PM Anonymous said...

I just received direct confirmation that Novalux is partnering with Microvision.

At October 10, 2006 at 4:01 PM Anonymous said...

Ben: O.K., so how is it that Novalux is advertising "their portable" laser projector that can be housed in a cell phone? If Novalux own's the technology for the small lasers, where does MVIS come into the picture?

At October 10, 2006 at 4:44 PM Ben said...

Microvision's Integrated Photonics Module includes components such as laser light sources, electronics, optics and a MEMS scanner.

From today's PR: "Our IPM platform strategy is to implement the very best component technologies to deliver the most cost-effective miniature display and image capture solutions to our customers worldwide."

At October 10, 2006 at 5:09 PM Anonymous said...

Would it be accurate to say the Microvision's technology will be employed in large format laser displays, or only in highly portable video applications. In other words, is the Microvision inside future Arasor and/or Samsung laser projection television displays?

At October 11, 2006 at 6:11 AM Anonymous said...,70942-0.html

At October 11, 2006 at 10:54 AM Anonymous said...

Thanks to whomever, but the articles via the above links do not address whether or not Microvision will be inside future big screen laser televisions by Arasor or Smasung. Articles pertained to PicoProjection.

At October 11, 2006 at 2:13 PM Anonymous said...

Lots of companies are scramblimg to develop laser projectors for the consumer market, and some of them are very young but seem a lot closer to that goal than Microvision ever has.

At October 11, 2006 at 2:32 PM Anonymous said...

Do you mind naming a few?

At October 11, 2006 at 2:43 PM Anonymous said...

The key word is SEEM! They all need the green laser. But the young start ups need years of refinement.

At October 11, 2006 at 2:50 PM Anonymous said...

You still didn't answer my question, but thanks for clearing that up, I guess.

At October 12, 2006 at 3:21 PM Ben said...

Our strategic focus for the IPM is on the following applications:

Personal projectors including embedded and accessory laser projectors for cell phones and personal media players; personal color eyewear; laser head-up displays for automotive/aerospace applications.

In addition to these IPM development activities, we are cultivating our bar code scanner business.

Here's a quote from the transcript of the second quarter '06 conference call:

"The goal of recent development agreement that we initiated with the third party OEM is basically, to optimize solid state green laser for consumer applications. Today’s green lasers have been targeted for rear projection television industry, which has 90% synergy with what we need, however the form factor and power constraints are not as eminent in the rear projection television industry as it is for cell phone embedded application. So this effort was designed with the goal to optimize this solid state green laser in terms of power consumption and form factor. There has been tremendous progress over the past year. We’re very happy with the progress. We decided not to sit on the sidelines; we decided to take more active control."

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