The ideal laser television should be capable of delivering bright colors, large format screens and should consume very little power. If perfected and delivered to the market at a low cost, this approach has the ability to replace most existing technologies, including plasma, LCD and standard rear projection.
A relatively new California company named HDI (High Definition Integration Ltd) recently demonstrated a 100 inch prototype model to a gathering of engineers and executives from top consumer electronics companies. Obviously, their hope is to find a deep pockets investor to help further the laser powered television project and move it into a production stage. Reports indicate that the demonstration was impressive.
The prototype uses red, green and blue lasers to paint the images on a screen. Two bonuses are attached to using laser technology, with a third related to 3D technology for home use. First, the power consumption with laser diode technology is far less than half of a plasma television. It fact, it could be up to 80% less than that of a comparably-sized plasma television.
The second benefit is speed. The HDTV screen refresh rate on laser powered televisions are incredibly fast as compared to plasma or LCD technology. An equivalent of 720Hz 3D refresh rate at 1080p was demonstrated with the HDI prototype. The prototype was set up to demonstrate 3D imaging technology with a time sequential imaging speed of 360 fields per second for each eye, meaning 360 left-eye views and 360 right-eye views–per second. The best alternative 3D technology in development uses a 240Hz refresh rate utilizing shutter technology, which displays alternating left-eye, right-eye images at 120Hz each.
That leads us to the third benefit. The current leading approach to 3D home viewing technology in development is expected to use 3D LCD shutter glasses technology, which requires the use of relatively expensive shutter glasses that are synchronized to alternating left-eye, right-eye images. Because the 3D technology demonstrated by HDI uses laser imaging similar to the 3D circular polarization technology currently used in movie theaters, the HDI approach uses the same, much less expensive RealD polarized glasses used today in theaters.
There is actually a fourth benefit. Because laser powered televisions use projection technology, the cost should theoretically be lower than plasma and LCD technology. It will be interesting to see what happens if this gets to the market. We will be looking for this one at the upcoming 2010 Consumer Electronics Show. I strongly suspect that the prototype will be there, perhaps in the booth of a new investor.