Panasonic announced last week that it has developed a new kind of IPS LCD display with a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, making it competitive with the far more expensive OLED technologies. The new technology offers a massive improvement over most of today's LCD displays, which tend to have an average of about a 1,800:1 contrast ratio.
While traditional backlit LCD panels tend to be cheaper and easier to make, they also feature a worse contrast ratio and less deep blacks when compared to OLED monitors, something that Panasonic’s new technology hopes to address.
The disparity in image quality is caused by the fundamental technologies of OLED versus LCD. OLED displays work on a pixel-by-pixel basis, only lighting up where there is an image to display (and allowing for the deep, true blacks that the technology is known for), but LCDs use a backlight that illuminates all of the display cells at once. If you increase brightness of that backlight to get a brighter picture, you start to wash out the display, while lowering the backlight's intensity will get better blacks, but at the expense of crisp, bright colors.
Panasonic's new technology works by using light-modulating liquid crystal cells, which are able to control the light at each point on a pixel-by-pixel basis to reap the same benefits as OLED is able to offer. If tests are successful, the new technology still could find a way into improving the quality of LCD displays in the future.