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Liquid Crystal Displays: Fundamental Physics and Technology by Robert H. Chen

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18

New Screens

Although there were fits and starts in the process of development as described above, the ultimate pervasiveness of liquid crystal televisions is testament to its technical brilliance and popular appeal. Which begs the question: in retrospect, why was it that a company like Sharp could aggressively seize new technologies like the liquid crystal display, while the more technologically advanced companies at the time, such as RCA and Sony, demurred? RCA was the pioneer in the creation of most of the technology behind the liquid crystal display (LCD), yet did not develop a product and the company itself ultimately disintegrated. Sony, although the prime consumer electronics purveyor of the time, shunned the LCD, and ultimately never caught up with the liquid crystal tsunami, and was bypassed as the supreme electronics brand by Samsung, who rode the wave for all it was worth (confer Chapter 26).

The obstacle to RCA and Sony’s entry into the new realm of liquid crystal television ironically could be just the fact that the two largest television makers at the time were RCA and Sony themselves, that is, the television giants perhaps were not able to avoid the overriding influence of their respective flagship products, the shadow mask and the Trinitron® cathode-ray tube (CRT) televisions. Sometimes the inertia of commercially successful products devolves to a stubborn paranoia; RCA and Sony relentlessly tried to enlarge the CRT screen size, lighten it, and slim it down, all ...

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