At CES this week, Panasonic unveiled what it claims is the world's smallest, thinnest 4K2K-resolution, 20-inch IPS Alpha LCD panel. The prototype ultra-high definition monitor is only 3.5 millimeters thick, yet has about four times the resolution of a standard HDTV, at 3,840 x 2,160 pixels - this translates to approximately 8.29 million pixels in total, with the "world's highest pixel density of 216 pixels per inch."

The new IPS Alpha panel incorporates two main Panasonic technologies. The first is a new type of pixel structure, that is said to reduce the effects of electrical fields that are generated by increased pixel density. The structure also improves the panel's light transmission rate, to the point that it is about twice as effective as conventional Panasonic HD LCD panels.

The second technology is a new liquid-crystal molecular orientation process. According to Panasonic, "the orientation performance of the liquid crystals in a plane parallel to the TFT (Thin Film Transistor) substrate is further improved."

Combined, the two innovations result in a panel that reportedly has a high contrast ratio, high-gradation color reproducibility, and that produces four times the volume of information as an HDTV, using the same amount of electricity. It can also be viewed from a wider diagonal angle than existing IPS Alpha panels, which currently sit at 178 degrees for horizontal and vertical viewing angles.

And if you're thinking that packing so many pixels into a relatively small screen wouldn't be noticeable, think again. Having seen the 4K2K display in person at CES in a side-by-side comparison with a 1080p resolution display of the same size, the extra definition is indeed noticeable - even on a 20-inch display.

Panasonic has not yet made any comment regarding commercial availability of the new panel.

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