Samsung’s transparent LCD panels enter mass production

Sure, they might prove to be little more than a fad for stores looking for some unusual digital signage, but Samsung has begun mass production on 22-inch transparent LCD displays. That’s right, you can see right through them. Samsung is making two versions—one with full color support and one that’s black-and-white only—and the displays sport a 1,680 by 1,050-pixel resolution and a 500:1 contrast ratio. The idea behind the displays is that they can use available ambient light—such as sunlight, room lights, or lights already set up in, say, store display windows—while consuming 90 percent less than conventional backlit LCD displays.

Samsung 22-inch transparent LCD

So far, Samsung seems to be targeting the transparent displays at the digital signage market, but we can think of a number of other interesting applications for the technology, both in specialized devices and general consumer electronics.

“Transparent displays will have a wide range of use in all industry areas as an efficient tool for delivering information and communication,” said Samsung Electronics LCD business senior VP Younghwan Park, in a statement. “With the world’s first mass production of the transparent LCD panel, Samsung Electronics plans to lead the global transparent LCD market by developing various applications.”

Where a traditional LCD has about 5 percent transparency, Samsung’s new panels have 15 to 20 percent transparency: enough to be able to see through the display, but also enable viewers to focus on the display’s content. The displays sport HDMI and USB inputs.