Are Quantum Dots the Future of Flat Screen TV?

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Today’s flat panel displays rely on a sheet of glass with backlit liquid crystals, gas bubbles (plasma), or some other solution that still requires a screen to have a decent amount of thickness, and certainly zero flexibility. Enter quantum dots, the TV that could literally be printed and folded up in your pocket. According to this story from The Telegraph, shortages of rare earth elements that go into high end electronics have lead manufacturers to look for new materials and techniques, and quantum dot holds some promise. Word of the technology really first started to break last year, and the first applications are expected in handheld devices, and later TVs sometime in late 2012. Quantum dot works by passing electricity, or even ultraviolet light, through a crystal, the size of which determines the color it puts out (like the water level when playing crystal wine glasses tunes the sound). The dots can be self-illuminating, or act more in an e-ink capacity using far less power than the panels we enjoy today.

As the colours are very bright and need little energy it has generated huge excitement in the electronics industry — the quality of display they can produce will be far superior to LCD televisions.”

Depending on the actual achievable color accuracy, and brightness, you could have that full-wall home theater screen of your dreams without a projector, in any size or shape you desire, that can be hung like wallpaper and use very little power, and generate zero noise and little heat. Now that’s seriously cool.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, like all technologies that are, and have been, coming soon, take all claims with a grain of salt, see what actually comes to market, and celebrate if it lives up to the hype. Who remembers FMD, the 100-layer optical disc that promised a terabyte of storage? It never went beyond prototype, despite having a lot of momentum. With the hypothetical infinite contrast of quantum dots, though, I’m already dreaming of 100+ inch screens in rooms that could never have provided a long enough throw to get even close to that with a projector. I just hope I never have to wake up from it.

Via: [The Telegraph]

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  • tahrey

    You write about this stuff for a job but you haven’t heard of super-short-throw projectors? I work in a college that’s just taken delivery of an 87-inch projector-based mobile interactive whiteboard system… whose projector sits in a reasonably small enclosure bolted onto the top of the frame which also holds the board itself. The throw distance is literally about one foot to five feet… depending whether you’re measuring from the projector to the nearest or furthest point on the board.

    A 100-inch display using the same tech would require a throw of, oh, maybe 1.5 through 7 feet, tops? Almost all of the shorter dimension being horizontal, and almost all of the longer one being vertical. You could sit the projector box on the floor in front of a whitewashed wall with barely any clearance from the skirting board, and light up the whole thing. OK, it’s only 1280×800 (or was it 1366×768?) resolution, but that’s still enough for spot-on rendering of 720p material, and it’ll still look good if you feed it 1080p. I daresay somebody somewhere also makes a projector that is almost identical in all physical aspects except that the image element is 1920×1080 rather than WXGA…