National Semiconductor Corp., has a new technology that could change future flat panel displays from Apple and other companies. National has unveiled a reduced swing differential signaling (RSDS) digital interface technology it says reduces power consumption and offers low noise levels. What’s more, the RSDS will now be available to any developer royalty-free.
This technology, used in thin film transistor (TFT) liquid crystal display (LCD) panels, will make possible larger, higher resolution displays at lower component count without increasing power consumption, bus interconnect, or overall cost, claims National. As flat panel displays become larger, simplified design and improved power performance are becoming more important, said David Handorf, vice president of National Semiconductor’s Displays and Monitors group. This is especially true with applications such as notebook computers and other portable products where reducing weight and thickness are as important as increasing resolution and reducing component count, he added.
“National Semiconductor designed RSDS technology to enable the next generation of flat panel displays,” Handorf said in a statement. “We decided to open the specification to all developers, free of charge, to continue to drive the market.”
For those into the technical aspects of things, note that RSDS is part of National’s displays and monitors portfolio and a derivative of the Low Voltage Differential Signal (LVDS) technology used in the company’s FPD-Link interface chipset, a standard for notebook motherboard to flat panel display (FPD) interface. The company has partnered with such companies as Hitachi, Samsung and Sharp in the past two years and let them combine their column drivers with National’s universal interface panel timing controllers.
The tendency of the TFT industry toward higher resolution displays requires a new low noise digital interface, according to said Kazuo Minorikawa, Senior Group Executive, Microcomputer Division, Semiconductor & Integrated Circuits of Hitachi. Combining their TFT display-related technology with a royalty-free, low noise interface like RSDS will accelerate the development of new TFT driver families to achieve next-generation, high-performance TFT LCD modules, he added.
Dr. Oh-Hyun Kwon executive vice president and general manager of Samsung’s System LSI division, said that that opening RSDS to the general market will allow the industry to move faster into the higher resolution displays. RSDS is now proven in the market with design wins at most of the major original equipment manufacturers, including Apple, Dell, Toshiba and Gateway, he added.
With RSDS technology, National’s customers are able to reduce the size of circuit boards and the bus interconnect, and get ride of discrete components typically used in TFT LCD modules, Handorf said. National’s universal interface XGA (eXtended Graphics Adapter) panel timing controller combined with a partner’s RSDS-enabled XGA column driver form a solution that can reduce size, weight, and cost, he added.
Plus, the use of RSDS Technology also enables several other key features and benefits in these new display products, Handorf said. Like what? “Substantial” power savings, “significantly” reduced EMI-radiated (electro-magnetic interference) noise, and lower production costs due to the elimination of EMI shielding, he said.