"The cathode ray tube, like the brontosaurus, will become extinct," asserts T. Peter Brody, "and for the same reason: too much bulk, very little brain."

The CRT -- mainstay of television sets, radar screens, and video display terminal of your computer -- obsolete? Yes, says Brody, and to replace it he proposes a new display technology based on thin-film transistors. He and a crew of fellow research scientists nursed the technology along in Westinghouse Electric Corp. laboratories, but they were unable to convince corporate higher-ups to develop it for the marketplace. So Brody formed his own company, Panel-vision, licensed the Westinghouse technology, got venture capital backing, and expects to be making his own 1/8-inch-thick prototypes by the end of this year.

Brody says his technology will not only be thinner than cathode ray tubes, but will be cheaper to make, require less power, be free from distortion and jitter, and give greater optical performance. His first market will be alphanumeric and graphic display terminals for very compact hand-held computers. "This technology is so general and basic that with it our company could become the Xerox of the display industry," says Brody, whose plan calls for Pittsburgh-based Panel-vision to grow into a $300-million company by 1990.

Brody has no hard feelings toward Westinghouse; he says he's grateful for the help the gave him. But if he succeeds, his won't be the first new technology Westinghouse has missed out on: In 1923, when Vladimir Zworykin first showed a workable TV model to the head of Westinghouse, the exec said, "Put that guy to work on something more useful."

Published on: Jun 1, 1981