A Clearer Picture on the Horizon

Every year it seems as if the picture quality on TVs keeps improving. Well, once again that is the case, thanks to a new technology developed by a team of scientists in the Optics and Photonics lab out of the University of Central Florida University. The team has been hard at work developing a promising new high-resolution TV display—known as Blue-Phase Liquid Crystal—which the scientists are predicting twill lead to much faster refresh rates, reduced power consumption, and triple the pixel resolution.

To put this into perspective, Shin-Tson Wu, the lead developer at the College of Optics and Photonics explained, “Today’s Apple Retina displays have a resolution density of about 500 pixels per inch, with our new technology, a resolution density of 1,500 pixels per inch could be achieved on the same sized screen.” The application of this new technology can have a significant impact on emerging technologies, Wu continued, “This is especially attractive for virtual reality headsets or augmented reality technology, which must achieve high-resolution in a small screen to look sharp when placed close to our eyes.”

First debuted by Samsung in 2008, the BPLC was too expensive and consumed too much power to be put in production. So how does it work? Today’s LCD TVs use three color filters: Red, Blue, & Green. Each pixel uses these filters to create the colors that we see and subsequently interpret as an image. With BPLC, the pixel can be refreshed about 10 times faster than today’s current TVs. This means that more colors can be shown in that short time span to create an even sharper image.

How soon can we expect these TVs to become available? The short answer is that we’ll have to wait on the manufacturers. The team at UCF worked to improve upon the existing BPLC technology to make it easier for the television industry to build off their work to create a prototype. “Now that we have shown that combining the blue-phase liquid crystal with the protruded electron structure is feasible, the next step is for industry to combine them into a working prototype,” said Wu. “Our partner AU Optronics has extensive experience in manufacturing the protruded electrode structure and is in a good position to produce this prototype.”

We don’t know what the images will look like on screen, but based on how great our current TVs are, we can expect them to be as lifelike as real life. While you are going to have to wait around for this technology to become available, there are still many extremely sharp TVs available at Abt.


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