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Get a Look at Samsung's Tantus fLCD Displays

Michelle Manafy

October 4, 2020 | Samsung will begin a nationwide "soft-launch" of its much-anticipated Tantus fLCD displays in November. The company will provide 20 retail locations with non-saleable demonstration units to further build demand for fLCD. Samsung, who demonstrated prototypes at Infocomm to rave reviews earlier this year, has postponed consumer release until early in 2001. According to Steve Panosian, senior manager of visual media marketing at Samsung, despite "enormous pent-up demand for this product" the company is still "tweaking the product in terms of picture quality."

Samsung's Tantus, based on the transmissive ferroelectric-LCD (fLCD) optical system, is rumored to provide image quality rivaling plasma at a significantly lower price, weight, size, and repair cost. Panosian was hesitant to make the comparison to plasma in terms of picture quality; he says it "is a different picture altogether and qualifies as a high-definition display, though it doesn't use CRT." However, he pointed out its clear advantages over plasma: "It is much lighter and though not as thin, it is slim. It burns 200 watts and plasma is more than double that."

Samsung was the first to announce commercial displays based on Ferroelectric Liquid Crystal (FLC) technology, which was developed by Displaytech in 1990. FLC is a material that offers microsecond response and bi-stable memory characteristics. In an FLC-based display device, these two states correspond to a dark and bright spot, respectively, and the response speed is more than a thousand times higher than conventional TN LCDs. Because of the bi-stability, an object remains on the screen even without applied voltage, which is therefore needed only when changing the picture content.

According to Samsung, fLCD displays are three times brighter than conventional LCD displays. Tantus fLCD displays can display two different channels or multimedia sources at the tame time. Though Samsung is targeting its Tantus displays at the high-end home theater market, it also functions as a PC display and is XGA-compatible, which makes it perfectly positioned for convergence and corporate applications. Along with PC input, it includes component video, HD component, and front AV inputs. The contrast ratio is listed as 150:1 and Brightness is 150 ft-L. A DVI option is being added to the pro model, which Samsung demonstrated at Infocomm. The native resolution of this display is 1280x720, and the unit will certainly appeal to those wanting to connect this set to a computer. Panosian says, "This product, like any of the HD monitors, has a multiple application market. The basic technology would work in a commercial market because it will display XGA, but, because it works on processed light, it doesn't suffer from CRT problems like burn in or uneven aging of phosphors."

The beauty of the Tantus isn't just on the inside, however. The fashionably light displayaeit weighs a third less than TVs with the same screen sizedaeis also supermodel slim; a 43" LCD is a mere 15.71inches deep as compared to 24.4 inches for a 37-inch CRT TV. Lest we think the Tantus is without vice, however, its lamp needs to be replaced every 8-12,000 hours at a cost of about $200 each. The anticipated street price for the 43" fLCD Tantus is $5,000; the 50" model is expected to sell for $6,000.

(Samsung Electronics, 105 Challenger Road, Ridgefield Park, NJ 07660; 201/229-4000; Fax: 201/229-4029; http://www.samsungusa.com)

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