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Sharp LCD TVs might finally show 'true black' and get a boost in contrast

September 17, 2009 |  7:30 am

Sharp LCD TVs could get an image-boosting improvement in contrast. Photo: Bloomberg.

Ever since LCD flat-panel televisions became popular, videophiles have complained they lack one major thing -- true black.

The technology can't, like old-fashioned tube TVs, display an absence of illumination that can be part of a night scene or other apt situation. Plasma TVs come much closer to showing true black, as the experts call it, but with LCDs there's always a hint of gray, and this throws off the image contrast.

But this week, Sharp Corp. said it had developed an LCD technology that eliminates "light leakage," according to a company release, "making it possible to display extremely deep blacks." The new regimen, which Sharp calls UV2A technology, is so precise that it can control the tilt of liquid crystal molecules only about two nanometers in size. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. 

Also, Sharp says the technology is more efficient and will save energy while still producing bright images with vivid colors.

No word on prices or when televisions using UV2A will become available, but Sharp says it will start making the new LCD panels at two of its plants.

It's far too early to know how much real-world difference the technology will make our living rooms, if any.

-- David Colker