Schubin Snacks


Seduced. And Abandoned?

It’s possible that you’ve never heard of AUO; it’s unlikely you’ve never seen their products.  They’re one of the world’s largest makers of LCD displays, ranging from 1.2-inch to more than 65-inch.  And now they’ve announced a “full-HD” resolution 14-inch OLED display.

It would be nice to be able to replace picture-tube-based reference monitors with something lighter, flatter, thinner, less power consumptive, and more stable.  It would be nice to replace them with anything before stockpiles of high-end monitors run out.  Maybe AUO’s OLED will finally be the CRT replacement.  On the other hand, I’ve been seduced by new display technologies since the early 1970s — and abandoned.

Magnavox and Xerox both introduced picture-display technologies back then based on tiny rotating balls, aligned either electromagnetically or electrostatically.  The idea has recently been revived as “new.”  Then there was RCA’s micromirror display, long before TI’s DLP.

For an exhibit in January 1975, I included pictures of a hang-on-the-wall, giant-screen, laser-based display developed by laser inventor Theodore Maiman.  Anyone heard of Laser Video recently?

Back then, I erroneously reported the introduction of the first LCD projector.  I’d gotten all the technical details right and even seen it in operation, but Hughes never brought it to market in the time frame they announced.

More recently, I was a fan of FED/SED displays, and my spirits soared when I saw the Field Emission Technologies booth at an NAB show.  Flat, thin, stable, gorgeous, less power consumptive than even LCD, capable of high-frame-rate display, CRT gray scale — what wasn’t to love?  Perhaps the fact that the company no longer exists.

Someday I’m sure something worthy will replace trusty tube-based monitors.  After all, we do now have both LCD projectors and micromirror-based displays.  In the meantime, I thank the CRT displays I use for not yet dying.