TMOS screens could be ready next year

Editor’s Note: We’ve received word from UniPixel that some of the information reported by EETimes and sourced here was incorrect. Corrections are applied accordingly.

A Texas-based company claims that its display technology is 60 percent cheaper and 10 times brighter than LCD screens, and that its first thin-film product should hit the market in 2010, according to EETimes.

UniPixel is the developer of films used in time-multiplexed optical shutter displays, known as TMOS. The term refers to the way light is routed onto blank pixels through side-mounted red, green and blue LEDs. The display only needs a single layer of MEMS film between its top and bottom glass sheets. By comparison, LCDs use multiple layers to polarize and filter pixels for color. The result of all the filtration is an image that’s not as bright.

And if you’re worried about speed, UniPixel says its technology updates pixels in microseconds rather than milliseconds. TMOS also needs no white backlighting, as all the lighting comes from the side-mounted LEDs.

tmos

Earlier this year, Samsung entered into a partnership with Uni-Pixel, giving TMOS a path to market. UniPixel says that because the TMOS process is similar to that of LCD, it can use the same supply lines with only slight modifications.

Before you get excited that this is the answer to OLED and LCD, consider that EETimes’ report doesn’t discuss televisions at all. In fact, the technology was originally introduced as a solution for avionics displays, and the recent news only mentions store window displays as a possible use. Unipixel’s Web site lists televisions, computers and cell phones as potential uses, but the company and Samsung are working on the TMOS process for a 4-inch screen now, so the idea of a big screen TMOS TV still seems pretty far off.

Still, OLED seems to be stagnating lately, with Sony putting development on hold and new developments largely missing from this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. There’s room for TMOS to become the next best thing, but I’ll believe it when I see it, supposedly next year.