We've seen the crystal-clear Field Emission Display (FED) technology used before in prototype televisions, but never thought one of its first real-world uses might be in a TV set-top box.
FED crops up as the display technology of choice in a device called the Anobar from Japanese venture capitalist Andos Inc. The long, thin 640 x 94-pixel screen serves as a ticker displaying real-time information pulled in from the internet.
No pain in the neck
That might include weather reports, newsflashes, Twitter updates or even – as in the example on the Anobar website – live chat about what's currently on TV.
Anodos CEO Hideki Mori says the prototype device is meant for those watching television who want to catch up on information that would otherwise require a computer.
He explains that using a nearby computer while switching back and forth from a more-distant TV would be uncomfortable: "Your eyes and neck would be exhausted and you can't relax and amuse yourself in that way."
Clarity is crucial
In spite of the high price of FED technology, the single existing Anobar cost ¥200,000 (£950) to build. Mori believes it is necessary for the clarity that a moving ticker requires – something LCD can't deliver.
Nevertheless, he believes a mass-production version can be made: "It's quite possible that we can realise pricing less than ¥30,000 (£142) by being selective about what functions to include, as well as cutting component costs."
If it all sounds a bit gimmicky, which is probably because it is. Nevertheless, the live video of the Anobar in action reveals one very slick device that's oddly compelling. If you tune in now, you might just catch the last of the afternoon's sumo from Nagoya.
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