Philips’ QD Monitor Ignites Controversy

The release of Philips’ first QD monitor, the 276E6ADSW (Philips’ High-Concept Ambilight Becomes Reality), in Europe has caused a stir in the market – at least for quantum dot makers!

Both Nanoco, which makes cadmium-free QDs, and QD Vision, whose QDs are in use in the monitor, have released statements concerning the unit. For a summary, see our comments.

Philips’ monitor, as we mentioned in our IFA report, is mostly a traditional unit – its wide colour gamut is what makes the display stand out. Gamut coverage is 99% Adobe RGB and 100% sRGB. Philips technologies such as SmartImage Lite, SmartControl Lite and SmartContrast dynamically alter parameters such as hue, tone and brightness to show the optimal image.

An IPS panel with 1920 x 1080 resolution has a 1,000:1 contrast ratio, 178° viewing angles and 14ms response time, as well as 60Hz refresh rate. Brightness is 300 cd/m². MHL-HDMI, DVI-D and VGA ports are featured and the stand can tilt between -5° and 20°.

The monitor will be sold for €285 ex VAT at the end of November.

Analyst Comment

QD Vision and Nanoco continue to feud over the use of cadmium-based QDs, by proxy in the form of Philips. These components are currently allowed to be used in European displays under Exemption 39b from the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS), although the European parliament voted not to extend this exemption earlier this year (European Parliament Rejects Cadmium QDs). Under current rules, though, cadmium QDs are still legal in Europe.

With the release of this monitor, Nanoco has requested an official investigation into the legality of cadmium-based QDs, through a petition to the European Parliament. The petition states that the earlier rejection of an extended exemption means that cadmium-based QDs are illegal in the EU, as of the 1st July 2014.

QD Vision responded to this with its own statement, calling Nanoco’s claims ‘manifestly incorrect and misleading’. The company quotes the European Parliament’s decision from the 21st May this year, which states, ‘[this decision] does not ban cadmium quantum dots, but will trigger a new assessment. There are therefore no market distortions, as the current exemption remains valid until revoked’.

QD Vision also argues that alternatives to cadmium QDs are not readily available. (TA)