On day 3 of my CES experience, I saw two prototype LCDs at Sharp's booth that absolutely knocked me on my behind. The two one inch thick LCDs at 52" and 65" diagonal size stood prominently at the middle of Sharp's massive booth showing off 100,000 to 1 contrast ratios and a massive NTSC color gamut of 150%. If I had to describe to you what this level of color gamut means, it's like looking at backlit film slides.
When I first read the specifications on the sign, I thought it was simply some another one of those inflated contrast ratio scores and perhaps this is why the press has largely ignored these two displays in their CES coverage. Everyone simply got use to those figures since LCD and Plasma vendors slap these ridiculously inflated dynamic contrast ratios of 100,000 or even 1,000,000 on their wares. But when I spoke to Sharp's product marketing, they explained that 100,000 to 1 was the true native (static) contrast ratio. This was hard to believe since most LCDs have native contrast ratios between 800 or 1500 to 1. I asked how this was possible and Sharp simply explained that this was their brand new technology. By comparison, Panasonic's latest Plasma technology due later this year "only" has a native contrast ratio of 30,000 to 1 which was absolutely amazing in its own right.
Then I looked closer at the video of planet earth in the pitch black space and indeed the blacks were pitch black while the earth glowed brightly. The contrast ratio in conjunction with the super wide color gamut made the picture absolutely stunning. Never mind that these were approximately 1" thick displays; I would have been fine if it were 10" thick if I could get this kind of color and contrast ratio. I guess everyone was fixated on the massive Sharp 108" LCD that these sub 70" beauties were overlooked.
The power consumption of this LCD wasn't given, but LCDs are relatively efficient compared to their Plasma counter parts at a given size. When this technology could be made in to a product isn't clear. I was initially told that it would be available later this year but the product marketing person later declined to say when it would be a product. As far as I'm concerned, I hope it's sooner rather than later.