How LCoS Works

Pros and Cons

JVC Multimedia projector
JVC Multimedia projector
Photo courtesy HowStuffWorks Shopper

The physical properties of the LCoS microdevice, like the absence of a color wheel and the high fill factor, generally provide a high-quality picture with a minimum of artifacts. LCoS pixels are also smoother than the pixels of other systems, which some people say creates more natural pictures. The rainbow and screen door effects common to DLP televisions don't exist for LCoS. Unlike LCD systems, they're not prone to screen burn-in.

However, most LCoS systems don't have a very good black level, or ability to produce the color black. Televisions with poor black level generally can't produce as much contrast or detail as those with good black level. Since LCoS televisions and projectors use three microdevices instead of one, they also tend to be heavy and bulky. Most require periodic lamp replacement, which can cost several hundred dollars.

In addition, LCoS systems aren't as common as other display types. The reason for this is that LCoS microdevices are difficult to manufacture, and each set needs three of them. Several companies, including Intel, have tried to produce LCoS systems and have abandoned their efforts after consistently low yields in manufacturing.

Photo courtesy HowStuffWorks Shopper

Check out the links below for lots more information on liquid crystals, televisions and related topics.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

More Great Links


  • Carnoy, David. "LCoS HDTV's Bumpy Ride into the Living Room." CNET, October 15, 2004.
  • Cuypers, D., et al. "Assembly of an XGA 0.9" LCoS Display using Inorganic Alignment Layers." ELIS Dept., Kent University, 2002.
  • DeBoer, Clint. "Display Technologies Guide." Audioholics, February 9, 2004.
  • "Device Future." JVC-Victor, 2004.
  • "D-ILA Projector Technology: The Path to High Resolution Projection Displays." JVC, 2004.
  • "High Quality Picture Realized by Original LCOS." JVC-Victor, 2003.
  • "How LCoS Displays Work" Digital Home. &articleid=29275&subsectionid=1300&subsubsectionid=935
  • Huang, H.C. "Color Filter Liquid-Crystal-on-Silicon Displays." Center for Display Research, 2005.
  • "LCoS." The Projector Pros.
  • "LCOS Overview." Microdisplay, 2005.
  • "Liquid Crystal on Silicon Devices." BOSLab Research Group, Kent State University.
  • "Microdisplays with Near Photographic Image Quality." Brillian Corporation, 2005.
  • Powell, Evan. "What's so hot about LCOS Technology?" Projector Central, July 18, 2003.
  • "ProFlux PBS with LCOS." ProFlux, May 20, 2002.
  • The Projector Buyer's Guide. Hardware Zone.
  • "Rear Projection TV Types." CNET, August 4, 2005.
  • Serati, Steven and Jay Stockley. "Advanced Liquid Crystal on Silicon Optical Phased Arrays."IEEE, 2002. crystal%20on%20silicon%20optical%20phased%20arrays.pdf
  • "Sony Updates LCOS Microdisplay Technology." Insight Media, March 17, 2003.
  • SpaciaLight
  • US Patent & Trademark Office, Patents 5,283,676: Liquid Crystal Light Valve. search-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=ptxt&s1=5,283,676.WKU.&OS=PN/5,283,676&RS= PN/5,283,676
  • Van Dorselaer, G., et al. "XGA VAN-LCoS Projector." ELIS Dept., Kent University, Belgium, 2002.
  • Wilkinson, Tim. "Liquid Crystal over Silicon Microdisplays (Construction)." Photonics and Sensors Group, Cambridge University.