LG Display develops thinnest-yet LCD TV panel

The 2.6mm screen will be put on show at January's CES

LG Display has developed a prototype LCD panel for television sets that's less than a quarter the thickness of the company's current production panels. The new screen could enable TV set makers to produce even thinner flat-panel sets but there are no current plans for mass production.

The 42-inch panel, which is still a prototype, measures 2.6-millimeters thin. That's half the thickness of LG Display's previous thinnest prototype panel, a 5.9mm model that was unveiled in May, and much thinner than its current thinnest production panel, which is 11.9mm thin.

The secret to the screen's thinness comes from the light panel.

LCDs require a light source to illuminate the displayed image and this is typically provided by a backlight panel that sits behind the screen. Placing it behind the screen makes the overall LCD module thicker so LG Display has placed multiple LED lights around the edge of the screen so they shine light into the panel. It makes the overall module wider and taller but helps keep it as thin as possible.

The company, which is one of South Korea's largest LCD manufacturers, doesn't have any mass production plans for the new screens.

The 5.9mm-thin panels it showed off in May this year are still not in production so the even thinner panels could take some time to get into production. LG Display will have to work on adjusting factory lines and also look at demand from the industry.

Over the last few years TV set makers have been competing to make thinner and thinner television sets but in the last few months the focus has begun shifting towards 3D technology. Both Sony and Panasonic are planning to bring 3D to the home in 2010 and the first Blu-ray Disc content in 3D is also expected to be released. If the technology takes off it could draw attention away from competition on TV set dimensions.

LG Display will show the screen at the upcoming International Consumer Electronics Show that takes place in Las Vegas in early January.

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