SID 2007: Sony KDL-70XBR3

The Society for Information Display conference is like a candy store to a techie display guy like me. It’s almost all about components and new technologies and future stuff that just over the technology horizon. But occasionally, there are commercial products worthy of note. For example, Sharp was showing their 108″ 1080p LCD TV monitor, but that’s more of a novelty than a serious product, and besides, they had shown it already at CES 2007.

Sharp's 108 in. LCD TV monitor is huge; note the person in front of the screen.

But over in the OSRAM booth, there was a new product that caught my eye: the Sony KDL-70XBR3.

Sony's new 70 in.  LCD HDTV uses high brightness LEDS as a backlight instead of fluorescent lamps.

OSRAM was showing off the set because it uses the company’s Golden Dragon LEDs as a backlight. The 1080p display is 70″ diagonal, and has a 120 Hz refresh rate and supports Sony’s xvColor standard. The backlight uses 1,152 LEDS, arranged in quads of red:green:green:blue. Together, they produce an image rated at 500 nits. The LEDs offer a number of advantages. They are friendlier for the enviroment, and they produce a thinner backlight; the backlight is only about 2 inches thick. Perhaps most important, the color gamut is better than with a traditional backlight. Reds are clearly richer and more saturated.

Backlights are an essential and expensive part of LCD TVs. LEDs offer some distinct improvements over fluorescent designs, and while they come at a premium price for now, expect the prices to fall as production levels increase.