Contrast ratio junkies have long dismissed LCD televisions, repeating the idea that LCDs don't get black or bright enough compared with plasmas. A new technology from Dolby Laboratories and SIM2 Multimedia might just change their minds.
A prototype from the two companies incorporates a “high dynamic range” involving light emitting diodes that can be brightened and dimmed within specific regions of a screen.
The 46-inch LCD that Dolby showed off contains 1,838 LEDs (called
backlight units by the companies) that dim and brighten based on where
they are in any given picture, and, just like Pioneer's Kuro line, the
set boasts an infinite contrast ratio.
A typical LCD TV tries to squeeze bright whites and pitch blacks from
cold-cathode fluorescent bulbs, but their colors end up looking muted
and blacks look dark gray. We're not sure which part of Dolby's new
technology plays the biggest role in upping the contrast ratio in the
LCD — the 1,838 LEDs or the Xilinx Virtex chipset that manages the LED
algorithms, but all eyes are on Dolby to bring this back-lit LCD to
market. —Rachel Rosmarin
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