Epson improves its 3LCD projection technology

Epson has improved its 3LCD projection technology to get higher contrast images with better reproduction of black colors.

Seiko Epson has made an improvement in its 3LCD (liquid crystal display) technology that could mean clearer images from next year's projectors and projection TV models, it said Wednesday.

The company has made improvements in the alignment layer, which is one of several layers that makes up an LCD panel, so that the liquid crystals in the display are more closely aligned. This has the result of improving the contrast ratio of the image and allowing for better reproduction of black and dark colors, said Epson. The contrast ratio is four to five times better than current panels, the company said.

The improvements will be especially noticeable by users of home-theater projectors, said Alastair Bourne, a spokesman for the Suwa, Japan-based company. That's because home theater systems are often used in dark rooms and the movies they show often include lots of dark areas -- both of which will be improved by the new panels. Conversely, it will be less noticable in office environments because the rooms are often brighter and the projectors are often used to show computer-generated images and files.

The 3LCD technology is based on three HTPS (high-temperature polysilicon) LCD (liquid crystal display) panels, one each for red, green and blue. It's a competitor to Texas Instruments' dominant DLP (Digital Light Processing) technology in the markets for home-use and business projectors and high-definition projection TVs.

As part of its effort to promote the technology, the company formed the promotional 3LCD Group at the beginning of this year with five other Japanese companies: Fujitsu, Hitachi, Matsushita Electric Industrial (Panasonic), Sanyo Electric and Sony. Products based on 3LCD are available from Seiko Epson, the five additional supporters and some other brands including Viewsonic.

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