Foxconn's investment in Sharp could eventually mean a Retina Display Apple HDTV

Foxconn's investment in Sharp could eventually mean a Retina Display Apple HDTV

Summary: With new technology making it easier to produce large-screen IGZO panels, could a Retina Display Apple television be in our futures?

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TOPICS: Banking, Apple, Hardware
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Most of the talk surrounding Foxconn's recent investments in Sharp has focused on the fact that it has a display plant that can crank out 60-inch screens. The natural assumption is that the long-rumored Apple "iTV" could be produced using panels from that factory.

But there's another wrinkle to the Apple-Foxconn-Sharp synergy that could potentially shake up the TV market. Technology is becoming available that could allow manufacturers to produce Retina Display panels for larger devices than the iPhone and iPad, including HDTVs.

Technology Review reports that Applied Materials has created machinery that makes it easier to produce pixel-dense displays using indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) at larger screen sizes. It just so happens that Sharp is working on IGZO technology, and could soon be producing IGZO panels for the new Retina Display iPad.

IGZO allows for faster refresh rates for TVs than amorphous silicon, and could usher in 4K-resolution screens to the living room. A 60-inch 4K Apple television would certainly throw down the gauntlet for the next generation of HDTVs, but there are a number of issues that could keep such an offering purely in the speculative realm. Price would obviously be a factor, as IGZO panels would probably be initially more costly to produce, and a 4K or Retina Display screen could have its limitations -- notably sufficient viewing distance to let viewers actually perceive the resolution difference compared 1080p. That's not to mention the content problem -- i.e., very little 4K content and no bandwidth-efficient way to stream that content online. (I can't imagine Apple would be keen on just relying on upgraded Blu-ray technology to handle 4K video.)

Of course, Apple could always release a conventional HD television first and then bump up to a Retina Display with a subsequent generation -- just as it's done with the iPad -- as it perfects the IGZO process and momentum grows towards a 4K world.

Applied Materials says it's already placed its new machines with (unnamed) manufacturers, so Sharp could already be working with them on IGZO panels. What that will eventually mean for an Apple television is still unknown, but merely building a better "smart" TV doesn't seem like the type of end result Steve Jobs would have imagined for his "revolutionary" reinventing of the television.

Topics: Banking, Apple, Hardware

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12 comments
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  • Let's discuss heat

    I highly suspect a TV with that level of resolution, unless an additional technology is discovered, will require significant lighting that translates into significant energy consumption and heat.

    That's aside from the bandwidth and the "what the hell do I need this for" issues.....
    rhonin
    • Besides....

      What is the definition of a "retina" tv screen?
      For my 46" HD LED the view focal point is 8+ feet away. At that distance I cannot discern pixels. No superman vision here.
      rhonin
      • Agreed. However you may have overlooked one benefit to a retina HDTV

        I would bet any proposed Apple TV would serve double duty as a large iOS iPad .. or as a large screen OS X iMac class computer .. Able to run either ecosystem applications.

        The greater resolution available for text images on a large display would be a definite advantage under this scenario.
        kenosha77a
    • Indium

      Indium only allowed heat to pass in one direction so it was very efficient at energy transference.
      slickjim
    • Aspect ratio?

      I presume this will be 4:3?

      ;-)
      tonymcs@...
  • All crass to me.

    Apple reporting is getting ridiculous in its misreporting of technology,
    My 22" monitor is Retina as its used for watching HD videos.
    In large rooms TV's are also Retina by 'some distance'.

    Blu-Ray benefits from 1080p so anything above is going to look rather dull to say the least.
    albionstreet
  • Oh I get it, April Fools!

    There is no way that is ever going to happen with current technology, it is too expensive.

    A 4K TV is only 96 PPI at 47" Diagonal and that is prohibitively expensive. Increasing this resolution by 200% with True Amoled technology would put this Television above $10k for a single set, this would not sell!

    Oh, and I used to cut Indium for a Cryogenics Manufacturer, that stuff alone is expensive!
    slickjim
  • Retina Display TV? I don't think so...

    Only an April Fool would fall for this one.

    A 60 inches retina display TV (320dpi) would only display 157 million pixels!
    With a resolution of more than 16700 x 9400, this new Apple TV would require a fairly decent GPU. Not for this year. Sorry.
    TheCyberKnight
    • Where are the real April Fool's posts??

      This one is more like gossip than an April Fool's "news". So where are the fun April Fool jokes this year?

      Every year, since the iPhone came out, we saw multiple April Fool's products that turned out to be so popular that they became actual products. Remember last year's? The iArcade box for the iPad? You can buy it today ....

      Then there were the funny ones .... the ones so ridiculous that it was funny to read the comments from idiots who actually fell for them ....

      Where are they this year???
      wackoae
      • Umm

        Haven't they posted enough of them the rest of the year? =D
        slickjim
  • We really don't need a large scale HDTV

    that must be located within an arms length so the viewer can appreciate the extreme resolution. TV's are meant to be viewed across the room. Idjits!
    Willnott
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    TheGardenMaster