At IFA 2019, Panasonic is showing off a 'MegaCon' prototype display that dramatically increases the contrast ratio of an LCD panel, delivering deep blacks and 1000 nits peak brightness for a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio.
The 'MegaCon' prototype was developed by Panasonic based on the company's own dual layer LCD technology, first announced in 2016 and already employed in some form in - very expensive - studio reference monitors. This one is much bigger at 55 inches.
The display has dramatically better contrast than a regular LCD panel, delivering deep blacks and 1000 nits full screen brightness for HDR.
- "In terms of brightness it can hold a full field peak brightness of 1000 nits indefinitely, whilst also covering 99% of the DCI P3 colour standard," Panasonic said.
FlatpanelsHD saw the 'MegaCon' in action at IFA and it looks promising. It delivers very deep blacks and relatively bright whites. The panel is semi-matte. The Panasonic OLED TV that was placed next to it delivered specular highlights with more 'pop'. On the other hand the matte surface helped reduce reflections in the LCD panel. It also delivered excellent colors, including deep color saturation at high brightness levels, and based on the relatively short demo it had insignificant, or very little, blooming around bright objects.
Dual layer LCD technology
How does it works? It is essentially two LCD panels sandwiched on top of each other. One is a monochrome inner panel that modulates luminance from the LED backlight while the outer is an IPS-based 4K LCD panel.
- "It uses a high performance 4K outer panel with a monochrome inner panel to modulate the direct LED backlight, thus delivering pixel-level dimming and a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 which is unheard of for LCD panels," the company explained
Examining the display from a shorter distance, it would appear that either the dual layer structure (monochrome panel with lower resolution than 4K?) or a pixel technique reduces effective resolution somewhat. It affected fine details in the picture but we had to get pretty close during the demo to spot it. The prototype is also thick and runs quite hot. It is of course a prototype so we are sure that Panasonic is tweaking it.
Panasonic says that it already delivers color accuracy that complies with Hollywood studios' demands.
- "Following exhaustive testing by Hollywood studios and post production houses, it delivers mastering monitor levels of colour accuracy."
The company has no plans to launch it on the consumer market at this time.