LEDs In the Spotlight @CES 2013

Switch 3-Way LED Light Bulb

Every January, hundreds of thousands gather in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show.  One of the highlights of the show has been the ongoing competition for the biggest HDTV as manufacturers one-up each other on LED-based flat screen TVs. This year, we’ll take a look at how that competition is going and the other products where LEDs are making a splash.

The First Three-Way LED Light Bulb

The Switch 3-Way LED Light bulb was named one of the best innovations at CES.  It is the first LED light bulb to provide three levels of light and is set to replace a 25/50/75-watt incandescent. Switch says it will be available in April 2013 and may cost as much as $60.

Audi and LED Headlights

Audi leads automotive manufacturers in bringing LEDs to their cars, most notably the A8.  2013 is no different.  This year Audi introduced the Matrix LED high-beam headlight.  The Matrix looks like a regular LED headlight, but it uses a camera to detect other cars and pedestrians, shift default to a brighter high-beam function or break in the lights forward beam so as to not blind oncoming traffic (Yay!).  This dynamic high-beam capability doesn’t come with moving parts (like other competitors), yet can aim the beam around corners (cool).  The new A8 will debut the Matrix LED high-beam.

4K Ultra HDTV

The big news for CES in televisions was 4K Ultra-HDTV (ultra high definition flat screen). The 4K stands for the 4,000 pixels or 4x the resolution of the current 1080p resolution LED TVs currently on the market.  Some of the 4K Ultra-HDTV manufacturers will be using LEDs like Sharp and Sony, others will also have 4K offerings using OLED like Sony and Panasonic.

This is great, but currently there isn’t any 4K definition content available for consumers.  Sony Pictures Home Entertainment also announced that they’ll have 10 “Mastered in 4K” titles available this spring – like The Amazing Spider-Man™, Total Recall, The Karate Kid, Battle: Los Angeles, and The Other Guys.   So with Sony’s OLED-based 84-inch XBR-84X900 4K Ultra HD TV reported to cost $24,999.99 and Westinghouse’s 110 inch behemoth 4K TV topping the scales at $300,000, spending thousands on one right now is kind of … silly.

In more realistic news, LG Electronics announced that all of its LCD TVs will be LED-based from now on.  Sharp showcased their 6, 7, and 8 series of Aquos LED TVs in 60-. 70-, and 80-inch after having displayed a 90 inch last year.

For Further Reading

CES Innovation Awards , http://www.cesweb.org/Awards/CES-Innovations-Awards.aspx

Car and Driver, Audi at CES: Driverless Auto Parking, Matrix LED Headlamps, Next-Gen Infotainment, 3D Audio [2013 CES], http://blog.caranddriver.com/audi-at-ces-driverless-auto-parking-matrix-led-headlamps-next-gen-infotainment-3d-audio-2013-ces/

PC World, OLED and 4K at CES 2013: The fantasy and the reality (video),

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2024911/oled-and-4k-at-ces-2013-the-fantasy-and-the-reality-video-.html

 

Automotive Industry Fully Embraces LEDs

Audi with LED headlights

The automotive industry has embraced LED lighting.  LED headlights caused a sensation when Audi put full LED headlights in the A8 in 2008.  Since then, the automotive market has been drawn to LEDs for not only forward exterior illumination, but also brake lights and interior lighting including dashboard illumination, instrument clusters, and entertainment system controls.

LEDs have become part of the color scheme of the car interior and a significant part of how each manufacturer brands its cars.  LED-based lighting is in many 2012 cars such as BMWs, Infinities, Lexus, Toyotas, Fords, Chevys and even the Rolls Royce.  Audi even featured LED headlights in their 2012 Super Bowl commercial about vampires (they died as the headlights caught them around a campfire).

The main drivers for auto manufacturers are power efficiency and the way that LEDs work with a car’s electrical system that helps save fuel. For example, LED headlights are four times as efficient as halogen lamps and require the vehicle’s alternator to replenish less energy, saving fuel.  These benefits are good for the environment.  According to Audi, cars equipped with LED headlights accounted for a reduction of 25,000 tons of CO2 emissions in the first year of sales.

For Additional Reading:

LEDs Magazine, Audi’s LED headlights are key feature in Super Bowl ad, http://ledsmagazine.com/news/9/2/4

LEDs Magazine, Automotive industry embraces LED use for forward lighting, http://ledsmagazine.com/features/2/7/10