Panasonic's display arm, Panasonic Liquid Crystal Display Company, has announced the development of an in-plane switching (IPS) panel family boasting 1,000,000:1 static contrast ratio - the highest ever claimed by an LCD manufacturer.
Those who have been shopping for a monitor or TV in the last decade or so will be all too familiar with manufacturers' tendency to overstate the contrast - the distinction between fully-white and fully-black on the same panel - of their displays. Typically, this involves claiming a 1,000,000:1 'dynamic' contrast ratio - a trick which lowers the backlight level in dark scenes and boosts it in bright scenes to simulate high contrast. Panels based around organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology, by contrast, have a high static contrast thanks to the ability to toggle the lighting on a per-pixel rather than per-panel or per-zone level, but these displays are more costly and complex to manufacture.
Panasonic's display division's new screens, though, are claimed to offer a 1,000,000:1 static contrast ratio for the first time in an IPS LCD panel - some 600 times higher, the company claims, than its nearest competition. The company's technology is based around light-modulating cells permitting pixel-by-pixel control of backlight intensity in much the same way as OLED panels but, it claims, without the need to upgrade existing liquid crystal panel manufacturing equipment - greatly dropping the cost compared to retooling for OLED.
According to Panasonic's internal testing, the panels treated with the additional layer of light modulating cells are capable of displaying a brightness of 1,000 candela per metre squared (cd/m²) and 0.001cd/m² simultaneously, without losing the viewing angles or colour gamut of the IPS panel. It plans to manufacture the panels in a range of sizes, from large-scale TV panels to professional-grade monitors for medical and industrial use and even down to in-car computer displays.
The first samples are expected to ship in January next year, Panasonic has stated, with more information available from the official press release