Sony announces 'WhiteMagic' - new LCD screen that uses half the power

Aug 15, 2011 by Bob Yirka report
The 'White Magic' LCD module featuring the newly-developed 'RGBW method'

(PhysOrg.com) -- Sony has announced via its webpage the development of a new type of LCD display that uses either half as much power as current same-size LCD displays, or the same amount of power, but doubles the brightness. Called WhiteMagic, the new LCD screen, currently just 3 inches diagonally, achieves these results by employing a third, white pixel to create images on a screen.

For the most part, most LCD displays use just three backlit pixels - Red, Green and Blue (RGB) to create one dot of color on the screen; the various colors are produced by filtering the light that comes from behind each of the three pixels to varying degrees, creating a mix. With this new panel, however, Sony has introduced a fourth pixel, which is pure white, and serves to double the brightness of each dot, not by increasing the power of the backlighting, which would necessitate the use of more battery power, but by simply allowing more viewable white light to pass through the White pixel which when combined with the filtered Red, Green or Blue pixels, results in twice as much light passing through each dot on the panel, resulting in a brighter image overall.

Previous attempts to do the same thing resulted in the Red, Green and Blue pixels being overpowered by the White pixel with a resultant washed out look (less contrast) on the panel. Sony has solved that problem by developing an , which runs in a special chip, that it says allows for images as sharp and clear as current RGB displays.

The display, which due to the extra in each dot means 1/3 more pixels in total (640*480*4=1.2 million of them) are used, comes in two modes; standard mode is where the panel dims the backlighting to reduce requirements by half, producing an image that is approximately the same brightness as current displays. Outside mode is where the backlighting is returned to “normal” producing an image that is twice as bright as regular .

Devices with such a panel could help users with the familiar problem of having difficulty seeing what is on their phone or camera screen when outside in the sun. Conversely, by dimming the when indoors, the panel should greatly extend battery life.

says the new panel should be ready for shipment by October, possibly in time for camera or phone makers to add the new panel to their wares in time for Christmas.

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User comments : 10

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TheWalrus
5 / 5 (1) Aug 15, 2011
Correction: The RGBW screen adds a FOURTH, white pixel.
poof
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 15, 2011
This would help the darkening caused by shutter glasses.
dnatwork
1.5 / 5 (2) Aug 15, 2011
Other than having a white pixel instead of a yellow one, how is this any different from Sharp's Quattron screens?
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Aug 15, 2011
Wouldn't adding white to the picture simply wash out the colors?
Code_Warrior
1 / 5 (1) Aug 16, 2011
Sony has solved that problem by developing an algorithm, which runs in a special chip, that it says allows for images as sharp and clear as current RGB displays.


It would be hilarious if this special chip uses half as much power as a normal LCD display. That way, the new display and new chip would use the same amount of power as a normal LCD display. Oh please let it be true!!!!
Moebius
1 / 5 (2) Aug 16, 2011
To the poster above: I think you mean uses twice as much. Not possible even if true. Chips use a small part of a displays power and that's just one. The majority is consumed by the backlight. That's why the new displays that have replaced the FL with LEDs use so much less.

This to me points out what is wrong with the free market. What if Sony patents the technology and either refuses to license it out or makes it prohibitively expensive so no one else can use it? We are and always will be in an energy crunch and this technology adopted across the board could significantly reduce consumption. I personally have had doubts for many years that a free market is compatible with the long term survival of society. I fear capitalism may be an eventual dead end.
CHollman82
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 16, 2011
This to me points out what is wrong with the free market. What if Sony patents the technology and either refuses to license it out or makes it prohibitively expensive so no one else can use it? We are and always will be in an energy crunch and this technology adopted across the board could significantly reduce consumption. I personally have had doubts for many years that a free market is compatible with the long term survival of society. I fear capitalism may be an eventual dead end.


Wow... capitalism DRIVES inventions such as this in the first place... without profit incentive this wouldn't have been developed at all :rolleyes:
Code_Warrior
1 / 5 (1) Aug 16, 2011
No moebius, I meant half as much. The chip is additional load used to run the new display that isn't in a normal LCD. So, if the new display uses 1/2 the power of a normal LCD and the chip uses half the power of a normal LCD, the the combination would use the same power as a normal LCD (1/2 1/2 = 1). I just thought it would be funny if it turned out that the total power consumption turned out to be the same as a normal LCD with added complexity. It was intended to be a joke, not a serious commentary on the technology.
Code_Warrior
1 / 5 (1) Aug 16, 2011
Apparently, the plus sign does not display. I typed 1/2 plus 1/2 = 1.
CHollman82
1 / 5 (1) Aug 24, 2011
No moebius, I meant half as much. The chip is additional load used to run the new display that isn't in a normal LCD. So, if the new display uses 1/2 the power of a normal LCD and the chip uses half the power of a normal LCD, the the combination would use the same power as a normal LCD (1/2 1/2 = 1). I just thought it would be funny if it turned out that the total power consumption turned out to be the same as a normal LCD with added complexity. It was intended to be a joke, not a serious commentary on the technology.


He knew what you meant... he was saying no the chip would not use anywhere near that much power. Microcontrollers and microprocessors use less than 1% of the power of an LCD and it's backlight.