More Laser HDTV

Recently, we have had more announcements about the use of lasers as light sources for rear projection HDTVs. Last month, Epson announced plans to develop one using polarized lasers and LCD imagers. And now comes word that Mitsubishi is looking to build an RPTV using lasers with a Texas Instruments DLP chip.

The advantage of using lasers for these designs is that they are small yet powerful light sources, which means that the designers may be able to make the displays even thinner. Many RPTVs are not much thicker than an equivalent LCD or plasma on a tabletop stand, and this could help narrow the gap even further.

On the other hand, there are safety issues to consider when using lasers. It is possible to damage your vision using any light source — including the very bright lamps used in existing projector designs — but the risks are increased with lasers. The designers will have to build in strong fail-safe features that will disable the lasers if other components fail. Also, lasers are not inexpensive components, and so it remains to be seen whether or not these new designs will be competitively priced compared other light sources, including the high-brightness LEDs that were demonstrated at CES in Las Vegas last January.