Color LCD Display Technology options

Color LCD Display Technology options
March 16, 2017 Eric Hawkins
In Journals

Which color LCD display technology is best for my application?

Color LCD display technology is broken down into two categories: Monochrome (one color character and a different color background) and Multi-color.

There are three main types of multi color LCD display technologies: OLED, TFT and FSC.

Deciding which color LCD display technology to choose for your product depends on such factors as:

  • Operating temperature range
  • Low power consumption
  • Size of display
  • Thickness
  • The ability to operate in bright or direct sunlight

OLED

BENEFITS AND USE

OLED displays (Organic Light-Emitting Diodes) are a newer display technology than TFTs, but are becoming more popular than TFTs. They are used in new cell phones, digital cameras, and medical equipment. OLEDs are an excellent fit for any product that needs multi-color, a thin profile, and low power (battery powered.)

PROS:

  • Low power consumption
  • High contrast and resolution
  • Thinner than TFT
  • Active (AMOLED) and Passive (PMOLED) matrix options available
  • Can operate down to -40C

CONS:

  • Largest size is 4.3” (5.3” will soon launch)
  • Half-life of the color blue is an issue.
  • Expensive to customize the size of the glass, NRE can start at $300K and the MOQ (Minimum Order Quantities) can be very high
  • Have the tendency to be discontinued more often than other display technologies.
  • Not the best for direct sunlight

OPTIONS:

OLEDs can be manufactured in the following configurations:

  • Monochrome
  • Multi-color
  • Graphical (dot matrix)
  • Character (alpha-numeric)

VALUE ADDED OPTIONS AVAILABLE:

  • Capacitive or Resistive Touch panel can be added
  • Customizable cables, bezels and touch panels

TFT

BENEFITS AND USE

TFT’s Displays (Thin Film Transistor) are full color modules that can display graphics, characters and video. TFTs are great for adding an interesting user interface to any product. They are used in older cell phones, tablets, laptops and digital photo frames.

PROS:

  • Can display up to 64 million colors

    Analyzing stock market graph on a touch screen device.

  • Operates down to -30C
  • Available sizes from 1.7” to 15”
  • Active and passive matrix options
  • Wide viewing angles
  • Multiple interface options (RGB, LVDS, parallel, etc.)
  • They are not discontinued as often as OLEDs

CONS:

  • Can be power hungry
  • Thicker than OLEDs

VALUE ADDED AVAILABLE:

  • Brightness (nits) can be increased for direct sun light.
  • Capacitive or Resistive Touch panel can be added
  • Customizable FPC cables, LED backlights, bezels and touch panels
  • Sunlight readable options available
  • Newer technology allows the use of a Transflective polarizer.

FSC

FSC LCD (Field Sequential Displays) displays were a popular technology a few years ago, but have since fallen out of favor due to several factors, the main concerning being the operating temperature, limiting it for many outdoor environments with colder temperatures.

FSCs are a segment display with the ability to change each segment to any of seven colors vs. older segment displays that were only one color.  FSC displays are custom and require a one-time-tooling fee to be paid. There is also a MOQ of 1K

VATN

If you need multiple colors than we recommend OLEDs or TFTs. If you only need two or three colors we recommend a VATN LCD (Vertically Aligned Twisted Nematic) display with silk-screening.  VATN display technology is available in both segmented and character displays. VATN fluid is rotated perpendicular to the LCD glass and provides a wider viewing angle and brighter backlight.

VATNs are customized to meet the customers design specifications.

PROS:

  • Available in segmented and character LCD displays
  • Fully customizable options
    • Size of glass
    • icons
    • direct drive, multiplexed, SPI interfaces
    • backlight
  • High contrast
  • Provides wider viewing angles

CONS:

  • Not available in a graphic display at this time
  • Not recommended for battery applications

VALUE ADDED AVAILABLE:

  • Touch screen can be added
  • Silk screening available to create the multiple different color icons on the same display
  • Extra wide temperature ranges available

Ready to begin your next project with a color LCD display technology? Contact one of our US based LCD specialist at the number above or click on the button below.

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