Intel Abandons LCoS
In August, Intel revealed plans to have a next-generation high-definition video chip available by mid-winter, but two months later reversed course, citing high development costs and uncertain results. "We didn't see a return from the investment in a timely manner," Intel spokesman Bill Calder told reporters.
The LCoS project was reportedly consuming too many of the company's intellectual and financial resources at a time when it needs to focus on other technologies, such as putting multiple processors on a single chip. Intel's exit from HD imaging chips leaves Texas Instruments far out in front. TI is now several generations into its Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology.
The Intel announcement also followed a September announcement by Sears Roebuck and Co. that it had cancelled plans to carry a Brillian 65" LCoS rear-projection set. Like Philips, Brillian had encountered many problems in producing the big displays.
LCoS startups have been plagued with problems, an unfortunate situation in light of a recent study by Quixel Research indicating that most consumers prefer 50" microdisplay-based RPTVs over 42" plasma screens at the $2000 price point. Taken at three US Best Buy stores during the summer of 2004, the survey found that most video fans prefer screens larger than 40", and have room to accommodate RPTVs, which occupy more floor space than flat-panel displays do. Philips' big LCoS sets are about 16" deep, for example.
Consumers interviewed by Quixel researchers compared the latest video technologies—plasma and LCD, front projectors, and microdisplay RPTVs—and 56% said that even though they preferred the flat panels, the larger screen size of RPTVs made them more attractive buys at the theoretical $2000 level. Most respondents said that front projectors were best for viewing movies, but not for watching TV. They also cited difficulties in placing projectors in their homes as reasons for preferring other technologies.