LCDs Go Wide

AU Optronics is one of the largest LCD panel producers in Taiwan, and according to a report from DigiTimes, the company has announced plans for new widescreen models for the second half of 2006. Sizes will include 19-, 20-, 22-, 24- and 26-inch models, some of which will also come with LED backlights instead of the standard CCFL (cold-cathode fluorescent lamp) backlights.

This is one more part of a push to make all displays with a wide format. Notebook computers already rely heavily on wide formats, and now manufacturers are trying to get wide format monitors adopted for desktop computer displays. It’s important to remember that the dimensions can be deceiving; a 20-inch wide format panel has about the same image height as a 17-inch regular model. Also, about the only real benefit of the wide format in a business setting is that you can watch movies on the same display, which is hardly a productivity booster. All the same, many companies are standardizing on wide format for PowerPoint presentations, which is a good indication of how prevalent this format has become.

Presumably the manufacturers want to move to wide format panels for everything so that they can produce fewer different panels. A more streamlined product line could help lower costs and improve their competitive position. So don’t be surprised to see wide format panels in new applications.