TV manufacturers hide speakers on the back of the display to ensure very thin bezels around the screen, but TDK’s PiezoListen speakers are embedded within the display, allowing them to emit sound in the direction of the viewer.
Televisions have continued to improve in a number of ways since the switch from CRT to LCD and OLED. They’ve got thinner, bigger, 4K resolution is fast becoming the norm, and the bezels around the display have all but disappeared. Sound, however, remains a weak point. The speakers are typically hidden on the back of the display, but TDK has a solution for that.
As XTech reports, TDK attended Ceatec Japan 2018 last month and brought with it a new series of laminated piezoelectric ceramic speakers. These very thin speakers range in thickness from 0.45mm to 0.7mm and TDK sees them being used in displays and vehicles. They will be sold under the brand name PiezoListen and are expected to enter volume production in May 2019.
The new speakers are thin enough to be mounted directly into a vehicle’s dashboard allowing audio to be emitted from positions much closer to the driver and passengers. Typically, vehicle speakers are hidden low down in the doors and footwells.
For televisions, TDK claims PiezoListen speakers can be embedded within the display, removing the need to hide the speakers around the back. This should allow clearer sound for viewers, and what works for a TV should also work for monitors and laptop displays. Not having to reserve space in a laptop chassis for speaker placement is surely going to be of interest to companies including Apple and Dell.
Such thin speakers are not perfect, though. The human audible range is around 20 to 20kHz, but these PiezoListen speakers only achieve 200 to 10kHz. Depending on the use case, that may not be good enough on its own. For anyone who wants very high quality audio to complement their shiny new, very thin 4K TV, I highly recommend investing in a soundbar.