Philips, Sharp and Sony team on bigscreen TVs

TOKYO — Philips Electronics N.V. has joined Sony Corp. and Sharp Corp. in jointly developing technology for the next generation of large-screen flat-panel displays using Plasma-Addressed Liquid Crystal (PALC) technology.

Thus two formerly sparring technology giants (Philips and Sony) are now joined in speeding up development of the 21st Century’s reply to projection and large-tube TVs, computer monitors and other display devices of this century.

End-of-year demo

The agreement is an extension of a pact reached between Japan’s Sony and Sharp. Under the terms of the new accord, the three companies will work to demonstrate a 40-inch flat PALC before the end of the year.

The three will work as equal partners in the PALC project. The companies have targeted fall 1997 for the initial development of large, flat-panel displays and the following fall to demonstrate models with increased resolution and brightness. The cooperation pact runs through Sept. 30, 1999, according to the statement.

“With today’s agreement, Philips, Sharp and Sony are creating a broad platform for high-resolution, large-size, flat-panel displays which use PALC technology,” it said.

Wall-hangers

Sony said the most important application areas for the displays covered in the agreement are the next-generation 20-inch to 50-inch wall-hanging TVs. The technology can also be used for computer and multimedia displays.

Plasma displays are much thinner than conventional monitors and are used as space-saving devices.

The terms of the agreement, schedule for commercial release and the amount of money each company will invest in the project was not disclosed.

Other Japanese electronics companies, such as Matsushita and Fujitsu, are also developing plasma displays, but their technology is different than the PALC format, and the processes are widely considered to be a step or two behind the Philips-Sony-Sharp approach.

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