UMC, Sanyo team up for LCOS TV business

Dec 17, 2003 Ι Industry In-Focus Ι Electronics and Computers Ι By Ken, CENS
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Taipei, Dec. 17, 2003 (CENS)--Sanyo Electric (Taiwan) Co., Ltd. Yesterday unveiled in Taipei next-generation 53-inch liquid crystal on silicon-based (LCOS-based) TV with its strategic partners highlighted by chipmaker United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC).

Sanyo has developed the high-definition TV technology for two years with UMC, United Microdisplay Optronics Corp., Thintek Optronics Corp., Premier Image Technology Corp. and Toppan Printing Co., Ltd. United Microdisplay is a UMC affiliate and Thintek is a joint venture between United Microdisplay and Premier.

In this teamwork, United Microdisplay designs high-definition video chip and assembles the chip with LCOS panel, UMC builds the chips, Thintek develops optical engine (or projector), Premier assembles optical engines, Toppan of Japan supplies TV screens and Sanyo supplies video system.

United Microdisplay's 0.75-inch chip allows this TV to run definition of 1024 x 768. It will soon develop 1920 x 1080 chip for Sanyo's 55-inch LCOS-based TVs and demonstrate the application first next year at a U.S. consumer electronics show.

Chairman John Hsuan of United Microdisplay pointed out that Sanyo is the world's first manufacturer to begin volume production of big-screen LCOS-based TVs. He expected 2004 to be a critical year for the world market for big-screen TVs because half of TVs bigger than 36 inches in the U.S. will have to be equipped with digital signal devices beginning next year. Also vice chairman of UMC, Hsuan noted that the chip foundry's eight-inch fab capacities are well enough for Sanyo's TVs.

Sanyo Taiwan priced the TV at a competitive level of NT$99,800 (US$2,935 at US$1:NT$34) and planed to sell at least 10,000 systems of the TV next year. The company has dedicated to the role of a production base for Sanyo's LCOS-based TVs.

Sanyo Taiwan's nearest domestic rival Teco Electric & Machinery is also developing the TVs. Thinktek executives pointed out that Teco has approached their company over deals of procuring their company's optical engines. They said their company will soon present higher-end machines to keep up with market need.
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