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eCinema says it has a true CRT replacement

LCD panels have traditionally been lagging behind CRT monitors in terms of color response, saturation, accuracy and overall black-level response. Because LCDs are "always lit" by a backlight, deep dark blacks have been the Achilles heel of LCD technology. However, a company named eCinema Systems has announced a new LCD technology that it claims surpasses CRT in virtually every respect.

eCinema's new LCD technology is being called high dynamic range LCD, and also supports "deep color", which is higher than 24-bit color, starting at 30-bit or 36-bit and can go up to 48-bit. The new panels are able to display 36-bit color (12-bits per color channel), and 1000 to 4000 step gray-scales, producing fantastic gradients. Most LCDs today produce only 256 gray steps at most. This new "deep color" technology will be standard with the new HDMI 1.3 specification. What's most spectacular about eCinema's LCD display however, is its contrast ratio: 30,000:1. At this rating, eCinema's new DCM40HDR panel can achieve black levels that even CRTs cannot match. eCinema CEO Martin Euredjian said:

"It is well known that LCD displays did not until now produce the same deep blacks that were achievable when using a CRT. Color depth is, of course, the 8 bit bottleneck issue. Images on the screen -- at the pixel level -- are limited to a best-case of 256 levels between black and white. In other words, if you painted a gray scale you could, at most, see 256 steps. The reality of the matter is that due to calibration and gamma adjustments most displays can't do much better than about 200 steps between black and white."

eCinema will be launching its new DCM40HDR 40-inch LCD by Q4 of this year. The new panel will be a true 1080p display and will be suitable for professional applications where only CRTs were used. Key features of the DCM40HDR will be:

  • Darkest black level output of any TFT in the market
  • Can be used for professional color grading -- previously done using only CRTs
  • Can be used for professional critical picture evaluation -- previously done using only CRTs
  • Allows accurate viewing of intra-field motion on interlaced standards
  • Video displayed at true frame rates for all standards
  • Rugged shock mounted components for field operations

If eCinema's displays perform well, this could mean higher quality LCD panels across the industry. The company says that its DCM series of LCD panels are reference-grade monitors suitable for critical viewing environments:

Production and Post can now discuss color with accuracy, confidence and reliability. Post production partners can work on common projects knowing that all work is viewed on precisely matched no-maintenance monitoring systems. In addition to this, clients can evaluate in-progress or finished work remotely while assured that the colorist saw exactly what they are seeing.



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Not getting the whole picture
By OddTSi on 6/14/2006 2:33:17 PM , Rating: 2
I find it curious that they only talk about the fact that they can get deep blacks, what about the whites? Not saying that this is what they did but it's possible for a monitor to have a tinted screen in order to get deep blacks, but then whites would look, well, not white.

Also, I see no listing of response times for the monitor.

Personally I'm not holding much hope for LCD technology to ever be able to meet or surpass CRT technology in terms of picture quality. That task will probably land in the lap of SED or OLED, assuming they ever release it. Speaking of which, what the hell is taking so long?




RE: Not getting the whole picture
By goku on 6/14/2006 3:09:51 PM , Rating: 2
While SED is promising, it still emits radiation much like CRTs (SED is tiny CRTs instead of one).


RE: Not getting the whole picture
By ChuckvB on 6/14/2006 3:40:32 PM , Rating: 2
Improvements in technology are always better at any cost, because in time the benefits always trickle down to the lower cost products either directly or indirectly.


RE: Not getting the whole picture
By Xavian on 6/14/2006 4:02:34 PM , Rating: 3
The radiation admitted by even the biggest CRT's is well well below the safety limits.

You'd have more chance of being hit my a small asteroid on the head then contracting anything from the miniscule radiation produced. Hell, theres tonnes of radiation outside, should we not go outside too? :P


RE: Not getting the whole picture
By PLaYaHaTeD on 6/14/2006 5:20:04 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
The radiation admitted by even the biggest CRT's is well well below the safety limits.


I must emit, you are damn right about that!


RE: Not getting the whole picture
By Xavian on 6/14/2006 8:02:08 PM , Rating: 2
whoops emitted :P

thanks for that.


By masher2 (blog) on 6/14/2006 4:50:44 PM , Rating: 3
> "While SED is promising, it still emits radiation much like CRTs (SED is tiny CRTs instead of one). "

The acceleration voltage for SED emitters is far below that of a CRT, meaning they emit a tiny fraction of the radiation...not that CRTs were by any stretch of the imagination dangerous.


RE: Not getting the whole picture
By Phynaz on 6/14/2006 3:41:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Speaking of which, what the hell is taking so long?


Money.

It took color LCDs 15 years to come down to a mass market price. OLED and SED are a decade away.


RE: Not getting the whole picture
By Xavian on 6/14/2006 4:08:19 PM , Rating: 2
the thing is, as technology advances at a more faster and faster rate, i wouldn't be surprised if OLED displays, drop to mainstream prices in 5 years or less. Why you ask?

OLED's are actually cheaper to make then LCD's, since they can actually be printed directly onto the display, this allows for far far cheaper production, the ONLY thing keeping OLED's from becoming a mainstream product is the relatively little lifespan of the organic material required to generate the colour blue. Once they manage to extend the lifespan to close to the amount the red OLED's enjoy, then we will see a mass market product. 5 Years isn't a bad prediction as to when that could happen (after all in the past 5 years, blue OLED lifespans have gone from 3,000 hours to some 20,000 hours).

So don't be surprised if OLED becomes mainstream within 5 years or less. :)


RE: Not getting the whole picture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/14/2006 5:16:27 PM , Rating: 2
> "the ONLY thing keeping OLED's from becoming a mainstream product is the relatively little lifespan of the organic material required to generate the colour blue. "

It's not the only thing...there are troubles with efficiency, barrier films, a whole host of patent issues, and some other problems. Personally, I don't expect to see OLED become mainstream for another 8-10 years. But technology is hard to predict.


RE: Not getting the whole picture
By Xavian on 6/14/2006 8:07:18 PM , Rating: 2
Efficency issues are worked out over time, as for Patent Issues, i personally think patenting an idea should be banned (but thats an issue for another debate).

I guess in a couple of years we will see who's right, as technology accelerates i think the lifespan of the research, experiment, test, release, mature cycle for formats will get smaller and smaller.

After all it took CRT's many many decades to mature fully, yet LCD displays are taking a fraction of the time.


RE: Not getting the whole picture
By Lakku on 6/14/2006 8:49:41 PM , Rating: 2
30,000:1 is not far fetched. In fact, there is a company in Canada that makes a specially built, liquid cooled TV that uses 1680 watts of power, and uses thousands of LEDs as the backlights. The point? It is a high dynamic range display that produces hundreds of thousands to 1 contrast ratio. In fact, it can turn the backlights off when need be so it has the purest black possible: no light at all. But, they had to give it some kind of rating so it stands at around 200,000:1 or more for the contrast ratio. David Kirk of nVidia has spoken about HDR monitors and I think they will be the next big thing in the coming years. It will take awhile to get them consumer friendly though.

http://seancaptain.typepad.com/seantech/2005/11/br...

That is the link to someone talking about it, and the TV is from BrightSide. All for the cool price of 50 grand. (That's $50,000 US dollars by the way).


RE: Not getting the whole picture
By sweb74 on 6/14/2006 10:17:39 PM , Rating: 2
The thing is that 30000 to 1 sounds impressive, but CRT has,theoretically, an infinite contrast ratio which is why it never report the contrast ratio. Having deeper blacks levels than CRT make absolutely no sense either because CRT blacks are created by the absence of light, which is black. So this statement is saying blacker than black, huh? That is a ridiculous statement to make that it is better than CRT in every aspect, because it just isn't true.

Now on the other hand I am excited to see real advancement in this technology as it seems to have more legs than Plasma.


RE: Not getting the whole picture
By Drexial on 6/15/2006 2:39:23 AM , Rating: 2
CRT's dont have a true black responce because of the light that we do see comming out of a monitor still interferes with the black areas, ive seen monitors and TVs with a slight glow even though they had a black screen at the time.


By masher2 (blog) on 6/15/2006 10:05:57 AM , Rating: 2
> "The thing is that 30000 to 1 sounds impressive, but CRT has,theoretically, an infinite contrast ratio which is why it never report the contrast ratio."

The subject is not nearly so simple. CRT's don't have an infinite contrast ratio. You measure a CRT via ANSI CR, which is the contrast ratio between alternating black-and-white blocks displayed at once.

However, LCDs are typically measured via a much simpler "On-Off" CR....the ratio of the whitest white to the darkest black they can display...even at separate intervals. This is because LCDs can't dynamically adjust their gamma like a CRT. So OOCR = ANSI CR very closely.

However some newer LCDS *can* adjust their gamma. The dynamic-iris LCD projectors, for one, and the dynamic-backlit HighBrights for another. Measuring such displays with OOCR gives them unrealistically high contrast ratios.



RE: Not getting the whole picture
By saratoga on 6/15/2006 3:14:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The thing is that 30000 to 1 sounds impressive, but CRT has,theoretically, an infinite contrast ratio which is why it never report the contrast ratio. Having deeper blacks levels than CRT make absolutely no sense either because CRT blacks are created by the absence of light, which is black. So this statement is saying blacker than black, huh?


Have you ever looked carefully at a CRT? Yes, the dark areas are darker then an LCD, but they're not black. Not even close. More of a dark grey. Turn off the lights in your room, bring up a black screen, and then turn off the CRT. Notice how the "black" gets darker.


RE: Not getting the whole picture
By SyxPak on 6/15/2006 6:08:47 AM , Rating: 2
Damn right Lakku,
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2005/10/04/bright...

It doesn't matter how fast or efficient your tft is, it will never be able to match the black created by simply turning off the localised lightsource behind it.
The simplest solution is often the best.

This article is old news, riding on the HDMI 1.3 newsbuzz.

As for contrast ratio, it means sweet-fsck-all.
If using traditional bar lighting as on common TFTs, the light is mostly blocked by the pixels. The lower the light level specified for 'zero' (ie 0.00000001), the higher the ratio will be.
If, however, you have true black (0), you're dividing the maximal brightness by zero, which is essentially infinity.
Reading the manufacturer's contrast ratio specs as anything other than rough guidelines and the marketing department's spin on the technical specs is a poor basis for a purchase decision.
Looking at the overall quality and performance of the product through 3rd party reviews is a better yardstick.


RE: Not getting the whole picture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/15/2006 10:13:04 AM , Rating: 2
> "It doesn't matter how fast or efficient your tft is, it will never be able to match the black created by simply turning off the localised lightsource behind it."

The only way you can turn off the lightsource to a single pixel is to put an independent source at each pixel. In which case, you're right back to an emissive display technology.

The Brightside monitor doesn't put a source at each pixel...it uses 50K or so LEDs, meaning 40-odd pixels each share a lightsource. So what happens when half those need to be ultrabright, and half ultradark? Oops.

None of our current methods of measuring CR are able to accurately give us a figure for such a monitor. OOCR would give an infinite ratio. ANSI CR would depend on the alignment of the test pattern...align to LED pattern, and you get a value prevented from infinity only by pixel bleedover. However, shift that pattern slightly, and you get a CR not much better than a standard LCD.


RE: Not getting the whole picture
By tygrus on 6/15/2006 9:54:07 PM , Rating: 2
It's all an optical illusion. Not the contrast level but our eyes work in favour of the lower res arrayed backlight.
The trick is a large area of what should be black will normally glows a little. If we up the ambient lighting the black level glow becomes less significant. A bight pixel next to a dark pixel is very noticeable but the dark pixel looks very black as our eyes adjust to the bright area next to it. When viewing a DVD in widescreen letterbox the top and bottom edge will quickly fade to extreme black and the edge of the video may be slightly darker also.
(www.brightsidetech.com)
I brighter screen means you need to increase ambient lighting nearby so it doesn't hurt your eyes.


By masher2 (blog) on 6/16/2006 9:35:55 AM , Rating: 3
Um, no. Contrast ratios are measured by very sensitive and accurate machines, in total darkness. Its not an "optical illusion"...the dynamic range on such a display *is* much higher than a standard LCD.

The only problem is our current measuring techniques don't accurate measure ratios involving spatial or temporal dependencies.


RE: Not getting the whole picture
By saratoga on 6/15/2006 3:17:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I find it curious that they only talk about the fact that they can get deep blacks, what about the whites? Not saying that this is what they did but it's possible for a monitor to have a tinted screen in order to get deep blacks, but then whites would look, well, not white.


You can set the white to whatever you want through calibration, contrast, brightness, etc. What you can't do is set the white and black at the same time since the contrast ratio is finite. So when they talk about black, they mean that for a given white, you can get 30,000 times less brightness in your black areas. Depending on the user, the exact brightness may be higher or lower depending on preference.


"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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