Laying Picture Tiles

Those in pursuit of the ultimate home theater face a dilemma in choosing a large-screen display. Traditional cathode-ray tube (CRT) sets are bulky, and two alternatives-plasma displays and rear-projection screens-look washed out. Liquid crystal display (LCD) screens have not yet been produced at sizes larger than 30 inches (about 75 centimeters). A joint venture between Philips Flat Display Systems in San Jose, Calif., and Endicott, N.Y.-based Rainbow Displays will soon provide another option: “tiled” LCD screens. Using a row of three LCD panels, Rainbow and Philips have created a 95-centimeter screen with a wide viewing angle and resolutions comparable to those of today’s TVs. Philips and Rainbow Systems will initially market the screens as corporate signage for about $10,000-less than half the cost of the largest single-panel LCDs. By year’s end, they hope to sell the screens to consumers for $5,000 to $7,000.

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