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National Semiconductor Drives New Interface Standard for Liquid Crystal Display TVs

Point-to-point differential signaling architecture dramatically simplifies the display interconnect while enhancing the viewing experience of very large LCD TVs

May 25, 2004

Society for Information Display (SID) Conference, Seattle, WA - May 25, 2004 - In a breakthrough for display technology, National Semiconductor Corporation (NYSE:NSM) today announced its new point-to-point differential signaling digital interface architecture and chipset for LCD TVs.  The PPDS™ architecture enables cinema-quality display performance and smaller bezels, and can support LCD TVs up to 90 inches in diagonal.  The architecture also simplifies the design of the intra-panel interconnect which significantly reduces the total number of column driver input signals by up to 50 percent.  National is actively working with TV designers and technology partners to drive adoption of the PPDS architecture as a new standard for LCD TVs.

"The worldwide market for 23-inch and larger LCD TVs will increase from 3.5 million units in 2004 to over 47 million units in 2008, at which time 85 percent of all LCD TVs will be in that larger category," said Bert McComas, director of Display Electronics Research at DisplaySearch.  "Consumers' demand for larger panels and thinner bezels, along with the migration to 10-bit driver ICs, sets the stage for this technology transition.  National has the upper hand because of its experience leading the industry's migration from TTL to LVDS and RSDS™ technologies for LCD."

"Consumers expect large, thin-profile LCD TVs to match the performance standards of today's CRT and plasma displays, but features such as higher color depth, cinema-quality motion video and high resolution cannot be delivered cost-effectively in LCDs with traditional intra-panel architectures," said Dick McCartney, principal display technologist for National Semiconductor.  "National developed the PPDS architecture to bring these features to the consumer while dramatically simplifying the display interconnect and reducing cost for manufacturers."

About the PPDS Architecture
National's PPDS architecture combines a physical layer interface with high-level protocol to create an efficient interface that reduces the overall required printed circuit board size.  Capable of delivering more than one billion colors to the display for true 30-bit color, the PPDS architecture is designed to drive large panels up to 90 inches at resolutions up to 1920 x 1080 lines.

National Semiconductor is the technology leader in LCD display interconnects and the pioneer of both LVDS (Low Voltage Differential Signaling) and RSDS (Reduced Swing Differential Signaling) interface technologies.  RSDS technology is a derivative of the LVDS technology used in National's FPD-Link interface chipset, now a widely used standard for the notebook motherboard to flat panel display interface.

New Chipset Supports PPDS Architecture
National also has developed a new timing controller and column driver to support its new PPDS architecture.

The FPD80200 timing controller uses the industry standard FPD-Link input to receive video data and a unique PPDS interface output for communication with the column drivers.  Its advanced data manipulation algorithms, such as National's response time compensation, create cinema-quality video images.  Unlike traditional panel driving schemes, the gamma conversion occurs in the timing controller instead of the column driver.  This enables digitally programmable and independent gamma curves for red, green and blue, providing best-in-class color temperature control.

The FPD80200 operates off a 2.5 V digital supply for lower power and lower EMI, but includes 3.3 V I/O cells to be compatible with typical gate driver ICs.  All of the functions of the timing controller can be programmed with an external EEPROM to enable rapid prototype and product development.

The FPD48084 column driver receives data via the PPDS interface and uses a linear DAC to convert the incoming data to the appropriate output voltage.  The column driver also operates at a 2.5 V digital supply.  Because the column driver uses a linear DAC instead of the traditional non-linear R-DAC, the total number of reference voltages needed for the gamma curve has been reduced from 18 to 6.  Overall, the PPDS interface significantly reduces (by up to 50 percent) the total number of column driver input signals.

The FPD80200 timing controller is available in a 144-pin low profile quad flat pack (LQFP) package and the FPD48084 column driver is in a tape-carrier package (TCP)/chip-on-film (COF) package.  Both are manufactured at National Semiconductor's fabrication facility in South Portland, Maine.

Pricing and Availability
Samples of the FPD80200 timing controller and FPD48084 column driver are available to select customers now, with production quantities available in September 2004.  In 1,000-unit quantities, the FPD80200 is priced at $10.00 and the FPD48084 is priced at $5.00.  For more information on National's PPDS architecture and products, visit http://www.national.com/appinfo/fpd/
.  To view a high-resolution downloadable photo of the FPD80200 and FPD48084, visit National's photo gallery at http://www.national.com/company/pressroom/gallery/display.html.

National at Society for Information Display (SID) 2004 Conference
National Semiconductor's display experts will present two sessions on the PPDS architecture, "A New Intra-panel Interface for Large-Sized, High-Resolution TFT-LCD Applications" on May 25 at 4 p.m. by Craig Zajac, marketing manager for National Semiconductor, and "Third-Generation Timing Controller and Column Driver Architecture Using Point-to-Point Differential Signaling" on May 27 at 3:40 p.m. by Dick McCartney, principal display technologist for National Semiconductor.  More information on National's activities at the SID Conference may be found at http://www.national.com/events/

About National Semiconductor
National Semiconductor, the industry's premier analog company, creates high performance analog devices and subsystems. National's leading-edge products include power management circuits, display drivers, audio and operational amplifiers, and data conversion solutions. National's key markets include wireless handsets, displays, PCs, networks and a broad range of portable applications. With headquarters in Santa Clara, California, National reported sales of $1.67 billion for fiscal 2003, which ended May 25, 2003. Additional company and product information is available at www.national.com