I remember reading that in Toshiba's case it was very low yields coupled with some sort of a burn-in problem. But I don't know any further details. - Tom Tom McMahon wrote: > Question regarding the article below - maybe some of the technologists on > this list will have answers (or at least theories): > > What exactly is it about LCOS that make it so difficult to produce? Why is > it still a "black hole of investment cash" at this > point? The article never pins down the exact issue(s). Is it a yield > problem? Cost? Contrast? Colorimetry? Latency or response > time? Temperature stability or drift? Life expectancy under bright > illumination? > > > -----Original Message----- > December 30, 2004 > > CALIFORNIA > > New TV Display Elusive > > Many big firms have worked on a screen advancement called liquid crystal on > silicon. But the complexity and cost have led to > widespread failure. > >>From Reuters > > It reads like a VIP list of failures - Hewlett-Packard Co., Toshiba Corp., > Intel Corp., and Royal Philips Electronics. > > Each of these technology powerhouses tried to conquer a promising technology > for making thin, big-screen televisions - called LCOS, > or liquid crystal on silicon - only to back out in defeat. > > "The roadside is littered with those who have tried and failed," said Sandeep > Gupta, chief executive of MicroDisplay Corp., a > privately held designer of LCOS chips based in San Pablo, Calif. > > As the television market moves to bigger and better screens, LCOS is one of a > few technologies that, in theory, fit the bill to > replace bulky cathode-ray tube televisions and costly plasma displays. > > In an LCOS TV set, light reflects off one or more small microchips made up of > a layer of liquid crystal and a layer of transistors, > projecting an image onto the front of the screen. > > The pictures from LCOS sets can be rich and bright. But as more than one > technology giant has discovered, LCOS is also a black hole > for investment cash. > > Meanwhile, Dallas-based Texas Instruments Inc., using another rear-projection > technology called digital light projection, has sold 5 > million DLP engines, used in cinemas, projectors and TVs. > > "TI has done a fantastic job marketing DLP," said Bob O'Donnell, director of > personal technology at market research company IDC. > > A year ago, Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel announced at North America's > biggest consumer electronics show that it would reshape > television with LCOS products. > > "It's real," Intel President Paul S. Otellini proclaimed at the International > Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, adding that > TVs built with its high-definition displays would be on the market by the end > of 2004. > > That forecast deeply embarrassed the world's largest chip maker, which > delayed the project and then canceled it in October. Intel > said it overestimated the economic payoff, though experts familiar with > Intel's technology say the company had an unrealistically > complicated design. > > It was deja vu for Chris Chinnock, a senior analyst with market researcher > Insight Media. He has watched as project after project on > LCOS - developed in the 1990s by Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM Corp. and Japan's > Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.'s JVC - has been > canceled or quietly shelved. > > "It has cast a serious pall and doubt about the technology," Chinnock said. > > Among the first large companies to try to commercialize LCOS was Palo > Alto-based Hewlett-Packard, which originally expected high > volumes of components in 1999. Chinnock said the project was shelved soon > after. > > "They couldn't get the price and performance," he said. > > In 2002, France's Thomson pulled the plug on an $8,000 television set built > with LCOS panels from Tempe, Ariz.-based Three-Five > Systems Inc. Three-Five later spun off the LCOS business into another Tempe > company called Brillian Corp., which earlier this year > lost a lucrative deal with retailer Sears, Roebuck & Co. amid component > shortages. > > Just before Intel put aside its LCOS adventure, the giant Dutch electronics > company Royal Philips Electronics backed out of its LCOS > project, saying it realized it wasn't "big enough" to bring mature products > to market quickly. Japan's Toshiba Corp. also halted its > LCOS plans after a supply snafu with Hitachi Ltd., Chinnock said. > > What is it about LCOS that seems destined for failure, and what keeps > bringing companies back? > > For one, the technology promises a seemingly straightforward technical > solution to a problem facing the entire TV industry - how to > make big, gorgeous TV displays on the cheap. It's an especially attractive > idea for chip makers, since LCOS displays get better and > better as the silicon components gets more advanced. > > And it can be done: JVC is making a big push on a mainstream LCOS set this > year, and Sony is using the technology in its high-end > projectors. > > "If you actually dig a little bit deeper, I think what we've found and > concluded is that these were really failed approaches to the > LCOS solution, which does not necessarily mean that LCOS is dead," Chinnock > said. > > Among those trying to turn the technology into a profitable business is > MicroDisplay. It has been working on LCOS products for a > decade. > > Gupta, the company's CEO, said LCOS can be a maddening technology to develop, > with engineers fixing one problem only to uncover an > even deeper flaw. There are eight technological disciplines required to make > a good LCOS product, from optical expertise to software > to analog chip design, more than many companies realize, he said. > > MicroDisplay said it has the advantage - at least until the next big > technology company tries again. > > > > > > ---------------------------------------------------------------------- > You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways: > > - Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at > FreeLists.org > > - By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word > unsubscribe in the subject line. > > ---------------------------------------------------------------------- You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways: - Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at FreeLists.org - By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word unsubscribe in the subject line.