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Page last updated at 18:55 GMT, Friday, 5 December 2008

A bright future on display

Click reporter Marc Cieslak looks at the latest developments in display technology from high resolution OLED TVs to virtual images.

His quest was to discover a better, brighter and higher resolution display, as the good old fashioned Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) appears to head for extinction.

OLED TV

Take a look at the first commercial OLED TV

With the newer LCD and plasma screens quickly replacing CRT, many older televisions are being consigned to the rubbish heap.

The latest display technology vying for attention are screens made of Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLED) which promise better pictures, lower power consumption and lighter screens.

Sony is launching the first commercial OLED screen in Japan in December month and worldwide in 2009.

The OLED TV seen by Click has a screen only 3mm thick, and is also energy efficient because it does not need a backlight like an LCD.

OLEDs have improved contrast ratios of 1,000,000:1 resulting in a very sharp and vivid pictures.

However, OLEDs have a lifespan of about 30,000 hours, half that of a decent LCD TV, and the price tag is likely to be around the 3,500 mark.

It could be a few years yet before OLED really takes off, and the largest commercial display is currently 28cm (11in).

PROJECTORS

A pocket-sized projector is tested on the go

Away from screens for the home and office, watching video on the move has been made easy by portable multimedia devices.

Ken Blakeslee of Web Mobility Ventures said small devices such as mobile phones were starting to resemble PCs and TVs.

"I think you have to ask yourself why those devices are still large. Because people want to watch things on a large screen," he said.

"There are various different solutions to adding a large screen, which become very important to the progression of how people use content when they are out and about," he added.

Despite not being a new piece of technology, small handheld or pocket-sized projectors could be one solution to eye-straining tiny screens.

The screen on most portable devices is often too small to do justice to a movie or TV show.

But getting an image out of a handheld device, could mean users end up with their own portable cinema.

They could turn to a pico projector, which use LED technology and less battery power than traditional projectors, but still produce a reasonably bright image.

The projector is at its best when used in a darkened room, but chances are devices like this one will come into their own on the move.

VIRTUAL IMAGE

How a 3D-looking virtual image is created

This projection technology updates a 120-year-old magicians' illusion called Pepper's Ghost which wowed Victorian audiences.

It showed ghostly apparitions on stage which were made from the clever use of mirrors and light to project an image seemingly into thin air.

This concept has been updated by 21st Century high definition (HD) projectors and cameras, allowing company bosses and entertainers to deliver live 3D-looking speeches.

Ian O'Connell from Musion Systems said the technology developed thanks to HD video was becoming more popular and accessible.

"The brightness of HD projectors today gives you something that's far removed from the original ghostly effects.

It creates something more akin to a virtual image, some people perceive it as a hologram, but in actual fact it is more accurately known as a virtual image," he said.

E-READERS

E-reader

The news-stand and bookshop could receive a makeover thanks to handheld devices which use e-paper.

E-readers such as Amazon's Kindle can download thousands of pages of text which are displayed on an e-ink screen.

Duncan Barclay from Plastic Logic, which is developing a next generation e-reader, said e-paper was different to other display technologies because of its "reflective" qualities.

"It has the characteristics of paper because its not emitting light," he said. "You can sit there and read it for many hours without your eyes getting tired.

"We also have a unique display technology that's a plastic display. You can push it into you bag without worrying about it breaking because the whole of product is flexible to withstand the rigours of daily use and abuse," he said.

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