CTV Technology

From deep to thin & flat

Television Technologies: From Deep to Thin & Flat

" With the entry of new technologies the television market has been subjected to major changes during the last few years. This newsletter is the first in a series that will focus on elements in the recent technological evolution and account for Bang & Olufsen’s position and strategy within this development.

Market development
The last few years have shown a clear development within television technologies. From a domination of the CRT (picture tube) technology, new technologies are becoming increasingly prevalent in the market, both from a unit point of view and from a market value point of view.

The four main technologies represented on the television market today: CRT, plasma, LCD and projection (front and rear).
Source: Understanding & Solutions

The LCD and plasma technologies have increased their market share in the television market notably in the last few years – and the future increase will be significant. This development shows a clear tendency: we are in the middle of a transition from deep to thin and flat panel televisions.

Technologies of the future – LCD and Plasma
The outlook is that within a couple of years, we will have two leading technologies on the television market: LCD and plasma. The benefits are clear: the technologies have matured to a level where picture quality comes close to CRT televisions, yet they are flat panel technologies and therefore offer much more flexibility. CRT and projection technologies will still be present on the market, but in a relatively small and decreasing scale.

The LCD and plasma technologies are not rivalling, but generally serve different market needs. The plasma technology is most prevalent in the large screen segment, mainly above 40 inches. A plasma display consists of two glass plates, which are sealed together with neon /xenon gas in between them. The benefits are extremely sharp and pure pictures with excellent contrast, even for screens above 60 inches. Downsides like a large power consumption and problems of dead pixels have been solved to a satisfactory level as the technology has matured.

The LCD technology, which earlier was used for large-size displays on calculators, and later mobile phones and laptops, has now been developed to handle television displays up to approx. 40 inches. The technology is based on liquid crystals between two glass-plates, with different filters. Light is supplied by a backlight and the liquid crystals move when voltage is applied across them. Advantages of LCD are an excellent picture, with high depth and exceptional contrast. Com
promises like long transition time and limited viewing angle have, with the latest generation of displays, been solved to an acceptable degree - even for high-quality televisions.

With the general move towards flat panels the tendency is that display sizes increase, due to the increased flexibility in placement etc. In the future, the main part of the LCD market is expected to be concentrated in the size interval of 29 to 39 inches, whereas the segment from 40 inches and above will be mainly based on plasma technology. Also the flexibility in placement of the flat panels calls for a larger number of television panels in the home.

Bang & Olufsen on the flat panel market
" Bang & Olufsen was not among the first on the flat panel market. The choice was to wait for the technologies to mature before putting substantial strategic emphasis on these technologies. This choice is closely related to the Bang & Olufsen attitude to quality.

It is our vision to create surprising and long-lasting experiences. Thus, we always select the best technology and the best components available on the market, which together with our core competences can offer unique concepts – and experiences for our customers. In the same way, in the flat panel segment we select the best flat panels available on the market and add our unique competences, among others within picture (VisionClear elements), sound and materials to create state-of-the-art products.

We now believe that LCD and plasma technologies have reached a level that can justify a choice to concentrate on them in a broader scope in our future television portfolio. Today BeoVision 5, BeoVision 6-22 and the BeoVision 4 concept with the option of a 42 or 50 inch monitor represent the flat part of our television portfolio. With future launches of flat panel televisions we will be moving towards a full flat screen portfolio.

Our attitude towards quality has been the key driver with regard to the timing of our strategy on the flat panel market. We want to be able to ensure our customers the best possible experiences through unique concepts – the choice of focusing on LCD and plasma in the long term is long-lasting, and these technologies will offer our customers long-lasting experiences. "

Source: Bang & Olufsen - August 2004



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