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LCD Rival Technology Emerges

Flat-panel monitors that exceed the visual quality of LCDs may soon be turned out en masse. Display Daily reported this week that Field Emission Technologies is talks to buy a manufacturing plant.

The company, spun out from Sony, has been developing field-emission display technology, or FED. Several FED prototypes were demonstrated at the April NAB show in Las Vegas and described by Television Broadcast“s resident technology expert as “monitors that appeared to exceed the quality of the finest tube-based monitors while being flat, thin, and lightweight and consuming considerably less power than even an LCD.”

The displays, based on nano-tubes, were lauded, but Field Emission Technologies had no manufacturing capacity as of April. That may be changing. The article in Display Daily said Field Emission Technologies was in talks with Pioneer about buying a plasma panel manufacturing facility in southern Japan. Pioneer“s own operation at the plant is scheduled to end next January.

Display Daily picked up the news from The Gadget Web site,, which listed the plant price tag at $200 million. The report said the facility would be churning out 10,000 26-inch FEDs a month by 2009.

Field-emission display technology is notable because it“s considered comparable to the cathode-ray tube, the industry standard for reference monitors. Liquid-crystal displays, or LCDs, are fine for making sure video is being transmitted, TVB“s expert said he would not accept LCD for reference monitoring because it does not match the black, color gamut, or viewing angle of CRTs.

“Most video operators ask to see what the black looks like on LCD, and then it comes through in splotches,” he said.

FEDs rival CRTs in terms of footprint. CRTs use magnets and an electron gun to recreate video images behind leaded glass. FEDs use emitters on a faceplate adjacent to the phosphors that make the images, allowing the screens to be a thin as an LCD.

“As for motion,” our expert said, “One of the monitors in the FET booth was showing crystal-clear moving images at 240 frames per second.”