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Large, high res, flat screen displays are going to get cheaper if R&D by Philips' pays off. It claims that screens measuring one metre across the diagonal will be ready by 2003 and cost under $3,000.

According to the New Scientist Philips' Eindhoven research lab is using a rotating prism to create large images from a single LCD panel.

The upshot is new screens which cost half as much as LCD or gas plasma displays, and use less power than cathode ray tubes.

Philips' Big Idea is to improve on the back projection TV system which beams pictures onto a translucent screen. In some projectors, the set up uses three LCDs, and red, green and blue light passes through the separate LCD panels. The three images are superimposed when projected onto the screen. This is a costly method as you need three LCD panels and it's difficult to keep the colours aligned.

To get round this Philips is creating a 'liquid crystal on silicon' display - a new kind of LCD panel - by depositing a liquid-crystal array directly onto a transparent silicon chip. The projected image from these panel is very bright, according to New Scientist because there are no transistors to obstruct the light.

And to avoid having to use three LCDs, Philips uses a prism, scrolling at 200 hertz, to continuously scroll red, blue, and green light down a single LCD panel.

The screen gets a showing at the Society for Information Display annual conference in San Jose, California, on 3 June. ®

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