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Samsung to demo next-gen, 240Hz LCD TV tech

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Samsung has developed what it claims its the world's first LCD panel with a 240Hz image frame rate - double that offered by top-end LCD tellies today.

The South Korean giant said it will be showing off a 15in prototype next week, but admitted it will be three years before the new technology goes into mass-production.

Samsung calls its new panel design "Blue Phase". Panels will incorporate image processing circuitry that will turn an image moving at, say, 60 frames a second into one that changes 240 times a second. The three extra frames displayed each cycle - instead of one frame there are now four - are generated by interpolating them from the original frame and the one that would otherwise come after it.

The upshot, the company claimed, will be even smoother movement and no motion blur.

Samsung Blue Phase LCD

Samsung's Blue Phase prototype: no blurring, cheap to make

How come? More frames per cycle means fewer differences between those frames, so there is less opportunity for the viewer to notice when the LCD flips its pixels from one frame to the next. It's that perception of change as the screen flips from one frame to the next, almost instantaneously, that causes the eye to see blurred movement in 50Hz and 60Hz video.

The potential flaw is that some folk already complain that 120Hz TVs produce movement that's too smooth, it seeems unnatural. That's surely only going to get worse when you double the frame rate again.

But Blue Phase isn't only about upping the effective frame rate of the image to 240Hz but also enhancing the structure of the display to yield better viewing angles, black intensity and colour reproduction.

Samsung's current LCD panels use the S-PVA - Super Pattern Vertical Alignment - mode, which is essentially the pattern of the pixels placed on the panel. S-PVA is good for high contrast ratios, in turn yielding good blacks, but the downside is the way colours can appear to change as the angle at which the viewer looks at the panel changes.

S-PVA incorporates alignment layers to ensure the red, green and blue pixels correctely form single-colour vertical bands across the face of the panel, and while Blue Phase also uses this vertical alignment, it's able to generate the pattern automatically, without the need for extra production processes.

That, Samsung claimed, will make Blue Phase panels - when they do arrive - much cheaper to make.

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