Flat panel displays encompass a growing number of technologies enabling video displays that are lighter and much thinner than traditional television and video displays that use cathode ray tubes, and are usually less than 4 inches (100 mm) thick. They can be divided into two general categories Volatile or Static.
Flat panel displays balance their smaller footprint and trendy modern look with high production costs and in many cases inferior images compared with traditional CRTs. In many applications, specifically modern portable devices such as laptops, cellular phones, and digital cameras, whatever disadvantages are overcome by the portability requirements.
Volatile displays require constant power output to refresh the image on screen many times a second. The image appears steady because the images are refreshed more often than the human eye can perceive.
Examples of Volatile Flat Panel Displays
Only the first five of these displays are commercially available today, though OLED displays are beginning deployment only in small sizes (mainly in cellular telephones). SEDs were promised for release in 2006, while the FEDs and NEDs are (as of November 2005) in the prototype stage.
Static flat panel displays rely on materials whose color states are bistable. This means that the image they hold requires no energy to maintain, but instead requires energy to change. This results in a much more energy efficient display, but with a tendency towards slow refresh rates which are undesirable in an interactive display.
Examples of Static Flat Panel Displays
Bistable flat panel displays are beginning deployment in limited applications (electrophoretic displays in e-book products from Sony and iRex; and bistable liquid crystal displays from ZBD in store shelf labels).displays, manufactured by Magink, in outdoor advertising;