Here we present our on-going efforts toward the development of stable ballasted carbon nanotube-based field emitters employing hydrothermally synthesized zinc oxide nanowires and thin film silicon-on-insulator substrates. The semiconducting channel in each controllably limits the emission current thereby preventing detrimental burn-out of individual emitters that occurs due to unavoidable statistical variability in emitter characteristics, particularly in their length. Fabrication details and emitter characterization are discussed in addition to their field emission performance. The development of a beam steerable triode electron emitter formed from hexagonal carbon nanotube arrays with central focusing nanotube electrodes, is also described. Numerical ab-initio simulations are presented to account for the empirical emission characteristics. Our engineered ballasted emitters have shown some of the lowest reported lifetime variations (< 0.7%) with on-times of < 1 ms, making them ideally-suited for next-generation displays, environmental lighting and portable x-rays sources.