Panasonic revealed this week that it has developed a new IPS LCD panel with a 1M:1 contrast ratio that is claimed to be a quality equivalent to OLED panels.

The contrast ratio is said to be 600 times that of conventional liquid crystal panels with an average contrast ratio of 1,800:1. The company said its IPS LCD technology features wide viewing angles, high brightness, and high reliability. The elevated contrast performance is produced by “integrating newly developed light-modulating cells that permit pixel-by-pixel control of backlight intensity.”

Panasonic said the resulting image ranges “from dazzling light to pitch-black.” However, the first applications will be targeted at business-to-business devices and production monitors.

Read more on Panasonic’s high-contrast IPS LCD panel technology after the jump:

According to a company statement: “The new high-contrast IPS panel solves the problems inherent in conventional liquid crystal panels. Despite their track record in wide-ranging applications from [business-to-consumer] to [business-to-business] fields, conventional liquid crystal panels suffer black floating, white washout phenomenon, in dark parts of the display area when the backlight intensity is increased to raise brightness. When the backlight intensity is lowered to make dark parts clearer, these panels also suffer a loss in sparkle in bright parts.”

Panasonic’s new high-contrast IPS panel uses newly developed light-modulating cells, which operate based on the operating principle of liquid crystals. By integrating light-modulating cells into the display cells the amount of backlight entering the display cells can be controlled pixel by pixel to reach 1M:1 contrast level.

The light-modulating cells are composed of a liquid crystal material that differs in light-transmission properties from that used in the display cells, allowing independent control of the display and light-modulating cells, Panasonic said. This has reduced light leakage significantly, allowing finely-tuned gradation expression.

Furthermore, the application of Panasonic’s IPS liquid crystal technologies, developed for industrial use, has achieved a contrast of 1,000,000:1 (maximum brightness: 1,000 cd/m2, minimum brightness: 0.001 cd/m2) while maintaining features including wide viewing anglesand high light-transmission efficiency.

Consequently, the new high-contrast IPS panel can make HDR-compatible displays for professional use at broadcasting stations and video production studios, and is suitable for uses including medical monitors and automotive monitors, Panasonic said.

Panasonic will begin sampling the high-contrast IPS panels in January 2017 with production of 10- to 100-inch versions specifically for use in medical care and automotive displays slated to start in the third quarter.

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Panasonic Liquid Crystal Display Co. will manufacture the panels using 8.5th-generation (G8.5) production lines and equipment for liquid crystal panel production.

Panasonic stopped production of plasma panels in 2013 and large-screen LCD panels in 2016 for the [business-to-consumer] TV market. Its remaining panel production plants in Japan produce LCD panels for business-to-business applications.

Fierce competition from rivals primarily in China and South Korea, forced Panasonic out of consumer panel production business, shutting down its last plant in Himeeji, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan last September. The company then performed final assembly of TVs using panels sourced from third-party factories.

Panasonic continues to make LCD panels for business-to-business applications, which afford higher profit margins than consumer televisions.

Although the technology is competitive with OLED displays now gaining acceptance in the consumer TV marketplace, executives with Panasonic’s U.S. operations did not return requests for comment on possible future consumer applications for the new high-contrast IPS panels, either in Panasonic branded TVs or as components for other brands of TVs.

By Greg Tarr


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