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  • Enhancing your online experience

Photonics Spectra
Apr 2011
Karen A. Newman

Not long after Photonics.com senior editor Melinda Rose and her associates deliver the industry headlines on our weekly “Light Matters” news segment, viewers can see the results in an online video on the home page at photonics.com. Online video is a medium that barely existed six years ago, but today YouTube alone logs more than 2 billion video views every day by its users around the world. YouTube reported reaching that milestone shortly after its fifth anniversary in May 2010, almost one year ago. And now you can even find “Light Matters” there.

Online video viewing in the US, from home and work PC/Mac/laptop locations, is up 45 percent year-over-year from January 2010, according to The Nielsen Company. With all that video viewing, it’s easy to understand why so much effort goes into displays. Of course, “Light Matters” viewers have any number of hardware and display options available on which to watch the newscast. Sitting at a desk in front of a computer means viewing on a desktop monitor with a thin-film transistor LCD or even a CRT; laptop computer displays are likely to be active-matrix/thin-film transistor. But computers aren’t the only way.

Smart phones have been around since the early ’90s. Remember IBM Simon? I carry an Apple iPhone with a 3.5-in. LED-backlit LCD, while Motorola’s Droid offers a 3.7-in. thin-film transistor display. Apple introduced its iPad with LED backlighting and in-plane switching technology for great viewing at any angle. The list goes on and on.

The devices that let us carry our video consumption away from our desktops are contributing to the growth in the number of US viewers watching online video, as well as to the amount of time they are spending doing so. We can watch videos while drinking our morning coffee, waiting for our turn at the dentist, and riding to our next appointment in the backseat of a taxi, on whatever device is at hand, and with pretty high expectations of a quality image. And we do.

The total US Internet audience engaged in nearly 4.9 billion viewing sessions during January, according to comScore Inc., which also noted that those viewers spent an average of 14.5 hours each watching video that month. The numbers for “Light Matters” are not that high yet, but it looks great on all the displays we could find on which to watch it, so we’re hopeful.

Smart phones from Samsung, LG, HTC and others feature active-matrix organic LED (AMOLED) displays. While passive-matrix OLED dominates the OLED market today due to early commercialization, AMOLED is expected to generate higher market penetration in units and revenues to 2015, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets.

Advances in AMOLED technology may one day make possible a generation of displays that is brighter and bigger than current models, but also flexible, opening a whole new world of possibilities. Contributing editor Hank Hogan explores the future of AMOLEDs and the current issues of size, lifetime and electronics that have to be addressed to make that future possible. Read about it on page 48, and don’t miss all the other great features and technical news items throughout the magazine.

I will be part of the Photonics Media team attending SPIE Defense, Security & Sensing, April 25-29 in Orlando, Fla., and CLEO, May 1-6 in Baltimore. I hope we get a chance to chat. We’ll be looking for great new stories to feature on the next edition of “Light Matters.” You might even catch us shooting segments around the shows.

And whether you view it on your desktop or laptop computer, smart phone or tablet, don’t miss the latest edition of “Light Matters” at www.photonics.com.


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