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Toshiba and Canon show off new display technologies that could leave the very best of LCDs and Plasmas in the dust

CES has always been the place to go see what's coming in the short future for TVs and flat panel displays. This year was no exception as Toshiba along with Canon showed off what could be the "next-big-thing" for television screens and computer displays.

Called SEDs or Surface-conduction Electron-emitter Display, Toshiba and Canon demonstrated a 32" wide 720p display that had the audience floored and raving for more. Not only were pictures sharper and more vivid than LCDs, but the demo left some top-end plasma screens in the shadow.

The technology, which is also refered to as FEDs, or Field Emmision Displays, uses techniques found in age-old cathod-ray-tubes. By using phosphors and electrons, SEDs/FEDs create images by immiting a stream of electrons onto a glass coated with phosphors. Canon has figured out a way to do this using its experience with inkjet technology -- spraying the screen with electrons. The result is a product that is thinner, sharper, more vivid and more responsive than even the very best LCDs and plasmas currently on the market. Obviously, the ability to create a display without the (relatively) bulky LCD substrates is extremely attractive to several companies who do not have glass patents, and other companies who cannot overcome the billion-dollar factory "barrier to entry."  Since an SED does not need a separate backlight either, manufacturers are already predicting that we will see flexible displays and "stitched" displays that are really made of several SED panels connected together. 

Larger screens are expected to show up later this year and ramp up in 2007. At this point, the future looks bleak for LCDs although plasmas may still have a chance -- that is until Motorola unleashes its technology which grows cathode emitters for SEDs/FEDs using carbon nanotubes. Motorola has not yet released details on how far along development on nano-cathode emitters is coming and has not licensed the technology to anyone else.




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