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  • Flat Displays, HDTV Highlight Asian Booths at Comdex
  • November 19, 1998 (BOSTON) -- Super flat displays for computers and consumer products, along with HDTV and digital TV products, highlighted Asian booths at the Comdex/Fall '98, which runs from Nov. 16-20 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
    The flat displays tap worldwide demand for smaller-footprint consumer electronics and computing devices. And the digital TV and high-definition TV products cater to the new market in the United States for digital TV. That country just began digital TV broadcasts.

    NEC Electronics Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., an affiliate of Japan's NEC Corp., introduced a 15.4-in. flat panel module targeted at the high-end desktop computer graphics market.

    The product has SXGA (1,280 x 1,024) resolution and a pixel pitch of 0.23mm. A version of the panel has an internal cathode ray tube interface board.

    The new panel has a brightness of 200 candelas per meter squared and supports full color, or an infinite range of color shades, similar to what the human eye sees.

    The company also announced three flat-panel displays, two sized 10.4-in. and one 12.1-in. They are targeted at industrial and instrumentation applications, strategic vertical markets for the company.

    Omid Milani, senior product marketing manager for NEC's Flat Panel Display Group, said the current shortage of panels is expected to continue into 1999. Milani added that NEC is focusing on vertical markets to soften the impact on vertical market applications in medicine and industry.

    All three products are available immediately in sample quantities and are slated for mass production in the fourth quarter of 1998. Pricing for the modules is expected to range from US$500-US$600 in sample quantities.

    LG Electronics Inc. of Korea debuted an ultra-slim plasma panel display (PDP) with high-definition television (HDTV) quality and a digital TV receiver chip.

    And Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) delivered the first samples of a chip for driving high-definition displays to 3Dfx Interactive Inc.

    3Dfx announced the new Voodoo3 chip at Comdex. The Voodoo3 has 8.2 million transistors. TSMC makes it for 3Dfx using a 0.25-micron, five-metal layer process.

    LG's PDP is 50-in. wide and has a 16:9 aspect ratio. LG said the screen offers HDTV screen quality and it has multimedia capabilities. The screen can be used for public displays at convention centers and sports arenas.

    The PDP TV and monitor market in the United States is expected to grow to US$2.5 billion in 2000 and US$10 billion by 2005, said Young-Bok Song, a research engineer in LG's PDP Business Operation.

    LG said the 50-in. PDP will be in mass production starting in 2001. Initial output is expected to be 10,000 units per month. The price was not disclosed.

    LG Electronics, along with sister company LG Semicon, also debuted an add-in card and a digital TV receiver chip for the card.

    The chip -- developed jointly by LG Electronics and LG Semicon -- is expected to dramatically cut the cost of products like digital TVs, set top boxes and PC add-in cards while making system integration easier.

    The card is a PCI bus digital TV capturing board for the PC environment. With the card, a user can watch digital TV on a PC.

    "Digital TV is a burgeoning market, with sales expected to reach over US$500 billion by 2010. It is becoming the next target for the world's leading electronics makers," said Dr. Woo Hyun Paik, chief technology officer of LG Electronics.

    The chip complies with ATSC specifications. LG Electronics and LG Semicon said they were the first companies to develop a chip set for digital TV receivers in October of last year.

    Production of the digital chip set will begin in the first quarter of 1999, the companies said.

    LG Electronics also introduced a PC add-in card using the single chip A/V decoder. The card, compliant with ATSC specifications, has an RF signal input port to receive incoming digital TV signals from terrestrial broadcasting stations.

    Prices for the chip and add-in card were not available.

    (Lori Valigra, Asia BizTech Correspondent)

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    Updated: Wed Nov 18 16:52:52 1998 PDT