This introductory article reviews the topics covered in this issue of MRS Bulletin on advanced flat-panel displays and materials. The common requirements of flat-panel displays are compact dimensions, low power consumption, light weight, and high performance. Flat-panel displays are incorporated in many consumer products as well as in a large range of industrial, medical, military, transportation-related, and scientific instruments. In recent years, there have been dramatic improvements in flat-panel display technology due to an enhanced understanding of various new or existing materials as well as fabrication processes. “Flat-panel display” is a general term that includes many different types of technologies. It includes panels that are in mass production, such as passive or active addressed liquid-crystal displays or plasma displays, and those in the early production or development stages, such as organic light-emitting devices or electrophoretic displays. It also includes novel products that are based on the principle of flat-panel display technology, such as solid-state x-ray imagers. The articles in this issue cover a range of these topics.