Matrox pushes eight displays with a single-slot PCIe x16 GPU

15 11 2009

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Matrox has been distancing itself from the consumer market for awhile now, but even we couldn’t resist this one. Hailed as the planet’s first single-slot octal graphics card, the M9188 supports up to eight DisplayPort or single-link DVI outputs, and if you’re up for getting really crazy, you can hook up a pair to drive 16 displays from a single workstation. The card itself packs 2GB of memory and supports resolutions as high as 2,560 x 1,600 (per output), which should be just enough to create the Google Earth visualization system you’ve always dreamed of. In related news, the outfit also introduced the far weaker 1GB M9128, which can drive a grand total of two displays for $259. Oh, and as for pricing on the octal guy? Try $1,995 when it ships later this quarter.





Christie Launches The New Digital Canvas: Christie MicroTiles

14 11 2009

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Breakthrough Modular Technology Unleashes Freedom to Create Virtually Seamless Digital Displays in Any Size, Any Shape, Any Place

Unique MicroTiles digital display technology that creates a virtually seamless digital canvas in almost any size or shape – and offers spectacular, crisp visuals at any distance – is now available from Christie.

Christie MicroTiles are modular digital display tiles that can be stacked and clustered like building blocks to create display walls of any shape or scale, using an entirely new, advanced optical design that produces unparalleled levels of brightness, contrast and color reproduction.

The Christie MicroTiles system represents a huge step forward in large-format digital display technology, offering superior color and image reproduction, the widest possible viewing angles, and a near absence of seams on display walls, with only a 1mm gap between the tiles. The groundbreaking LED- and DLP-based system is designed for long, reliable commercial use in public areas, with no lamps or other consumable parts to replace. The LED light engine, a key component of MicroTiles, is rated at 65,000 hours to half brightness usage, or nearly 7.5 years of continuous operation.

With a screen size of 16 inches (408mm) wide x 12 inches (306mm) high, the tiles also feature a shallow depth of only 10 inches (260mm) and require just 2 inches (50mm) of minimal clearance for rear ventilation. Christie engineers designed the MicroTiles to be fully and easily serviced from the front. The tiles are “self-aware” – meaning that time-consuming and costly color calibration needed to keep conventional “video walls” looking uniform, is automatically completed by the sensors built into the MicroTiles.

While the engineering behind the display tiles is extraordinarily sophisticated, walls of tiles are controlled by a simple unit that processes the signal from the most popular digital signage and media players.

Known around the globe for high quality digital projection systems, Christie has had its new tiles in R&D for two years. Technology and visual design experts who’ve seen sneak previews this year have described the system as “one of the wonders of the world in displays.”

“MicroTiles represent a distinct revolution in display technology, that allows users to create their own digital canvas or digital wallpaper,” said Bob Rushby, the co-inventor and chief technology officer at Christie. “With MicroTiles, users can express their creativity and vision, and assemble the displays in ways that have previously been unattainable using current flat panel LCD, plasma or LED walls.”

“Assemble the tiles any way you like, take them apart and re-assemble them in a new configuration, and they ‘recognize’ each other every time and adjust the image automatically,” Rushby added. “Our partners are discovering new ways of using digital display that would have been impossible or impractical before MicroTiles.”

The spectacular image quality and modular flexibility of the MicroTiles system opens up wide possibilities for companies charged with designing and creating large, vivid visual displays for architectural installations, out-of-home advertising, event centers, command and control facilities and retail environments. MicroTiles can easily be incorporated to fit within the physical constraints or opportunities of a building and eliminate all the compromises made when using other display technologies.

“Christie MicroTiles open up a whole new world of possibilities for the various display markets,” Rushby added. “They offer an innovative, visually striking digital solution to deliver messages and make them memorable.”

[press release]





Modern LCD’s no longer have “Motion Blur” – says DisplayMate

7 11 2009

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study conducted by DisplayMate Technologies claims that the issue of “motion blur” so long associated with LCDs is no longer an issue in mid-to-high-end LCDs. However, manufacturers have no problem selling you gimmicks that supposedly fix the problem.

The HDTVs included models from the top-tier brands of (alphabetically) LG, Samsung, Sharp and Sony – from the mid-line to top-of-the-line models. All of the units were from the 2008 model year. Differences between the 2008 and 2009 models are primarily in their marketing hype. For this article we had three flagship top-of-the line LCD models from Samsung (LN-T5281F), Sharp (LC-52D92U) and Sony (KDL-52XBR4). By studying the top-of-the-line models from the market leaders we were assured of examining the state-of-the-art for each display technology and each manufacturer. The consumer mid-line models included LG (42LG50), Samsung (LN40A550P3F), and Sony (KDL-40V3000). The remaining two LCD units were consumer HDTVs but not commercially available models.

The top-of-the-line Sony XBR and Sharp units had 120 Hz screen refresh, the top-of-the-line Samsung had strobed LED backlighting, and all of the other units had standard 60 Hz screen refresh. The goal was to determine the degree to which this varied advanced technology affected visible motion blur.

DisplayMate analyzed the blur using moving test patterns, moving photographs and live video (a Nikon D90 DSLR with a shutter speed of 1/160th a second was used for the photography) and found that no actual motion blur detectable in any of the live video content—although there were incidents that were passed off as defects in the source video or temporary optical illusions.

After extensive side-by-side objective testing with moving test patterns, moving photographs and live video we found that there was no visually detectable difference in motion blur performance for current mid to top-of-the-line LCD HDTVs, regardless of their Response Time, 60 or 120 Hz refresh rates, strobed LED backlighting, or motion enhancement processing. While there was considerable motion blur in the moving test patterns, motion blur was simply not visually detectable in real live video content during our extensive side-by-side testing. With only a handful of minor exceptions, whenever blur was seen in live video we always found it to be in the source content or a temporary visual illusion that disappeared when the segments in question were reviewed. This is undoubtedly due to the way the brain processes and extracts essential information from dynamic and complex moving images.

In other words, DisplayMate thinks you are probably seeing things. Don’t be fooled by manufacturers charging extra for fancy motion blur technologies or claims of exceptional response times. If you purchased a mid to top tier model you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Of course, this test doesn’t remotely cover all of the LCD brands out there, so I have to ask—based on your experience, do you believe that LCD makers have finally tamed the motion blur beast? [DisplayMate]





LG Says 40-inch OLED HDTVs Are Coming in 2012

31 10 2009

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LG has outlined its OLED roadmap, and there’s good stuff coming up. Its 15-inch panel takes on Sony in November, followed by 20- and 30-inchers in 2010 and 2011. LG also believes OLED will cost less than LCD by 2016.

Those 40-inch panels will still be “fairly expensive”, but LG says new manufacturing processes will drive down costs by 2016.

LG Display aims to achieve a 50% higher material cost and a 30% lower yield than those of LCD panels in 2012 and a 20-30% lower material cost and an equivalent yield in 2016.

That’s a pretty big call, but I like where their head’s at. [Nikkei via OLED-Display.ne]





Worlds Slimmest 40″ LCD Panel @ Samsung – well this week anyway

26 10 2009

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If you think about it, you’ll probably only need to hang your flat panel TV on the wall once. Maybe twice. Maybe three times if you really move around a lot, like in the middle of the night when you hear a knock on your door and thank god you slept in your clothes because there’s only enough time to put on a pair of Velcro shoes and grab your 40-inch TV.

Basically what I’m saying is if you want your one-time TV hanging experience to be as smooth as possible or if you have a habit of bolting down fire escapes in the middle of the night, then Samsung’s recently-unveiled 3.3 millimeter thick 40-inch LED TV might be right up your alley.

There’s not a whole lot of info other than that the TV contains a 40-inch, 120Hz panel, a total thickness of just 3.3 millimeters, and a contrast ratio of 5000:1 – pricing and availability (and weight) are unknown, althoughAkihabara reports that Samsung is looking to get the TV on the market as soon as possible





TMOS displays: the next step after AMOLED-backed LCDs?

23 10 2009

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I believe that headline contains what’s known as a gaggle of acronyms. TMOS (time-multiplexed optical shutter) is a new display technology that claims brighter, thinner, longer-lasting, higher-resolution displays. Hey! I hear you giggling out there. “Yeah, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.” Okay, so extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I’d say their pitch is somewhere short of extraordinary, but if there’s anything to the technology, it really may just be all that they say. The company and technology have been around for a while, but they’re actually approaching the market at this point and you might want to know something about it before you start seeing the name pop up all over. The idea is that by taking out as many layers of the display as possible, you reduce light interference (increasing brightness), power draw (better battery life) and component number (allowing for more pixels per square unit). But what to strip out? Uni-Pixel, the people behind TMOS note that instead of having three dots per pixel (red, green, blue in varying intensity), you could just have one, but with the dot changing color so rapidly that your eye only perceives the aggregate color. I’m not going to get all neuroscience on you here, but allow me to just say that there are biological reasons both for and against this technology, which I’m sure Uni-Pixel is aware of. Micro-mirrors would direct light from side-mounted LEDs, which sounds clumsy to me, but they say it’ll result in refresh rates far above current displays’. They would also be simpler to manufacture, more durable, and more flexible. Anyhow, the engineering challenges are serious, but they say they should be able to put one in a product in 2010. Guess we’ll just have to wait!





Panasonic’s 1-Inch Thin Z1 Plasma Deemed Beautiful, But Pricey in First Review

21 10 2009

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Who says plasma isdead? The 54-inch TC-P54Z1 improves upon the V10 series, and uses a separate box and wireless HDMI receiver. And after an exhaustive review, HD Guru says it delivers outstanding color, deep black levels, and superior motion.

The $5500 beauty uses a G12 1080p NeoPDP panel. Like Pioneer’s Kuro, it does away with a top sheet of glass and bonds an anti-reflective coating directly to the top glass. HD Guru says this eliminates the internal reflections between the top two sheets of glass that you see on all other plasmas.

With the user controls tweaked, we sampled HD and SD content using source material from Verizon FIOS, DirecTV and HD movies from Blu-ray discs via Panasonic’s DMP-BD80. The deep black level and bright whites consistently produced images with punch; undoubtedly due to the real world high contrast ratio the Z1 is capable of producing. Although the Z1 didn’t ace the HQV jaggies tests, we noticed no problems with any source material we threw at it.

To connect the TV to the receiver set top box, the Z1 includes a wireless transmitter that can be fixed to the back of the set. You also get a pair of “elephant ear” side speakers, and a table stand.

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The receiver has a built-in HDTV over-the-air tuner, and Ethernet (for Panasonic’s Viera Cast content…stuff like Picasa photos, YouTube, Amazon, and Bloomberg news). It’s a sweet system, and HD Guru’s review is definitely worth a read if you’ve got that sort of cash to throw around. [HD GuruPanasonic]