News and Reviews....

    1080P and Beyond  April 2007

By Robert Lieto

    The arrival of 1080P native resolution LCD and Plasma TVs will make a great impact on price as we go forward in 2007. There are 1080P LCD sets on the market now, that swept in during 2006, but should arrive in force in 2007. boasting lower prices and smaller sizes than before. The entry level screens for 1080P will probably be 37" for LCD TVs and 42" for plasma. A two tier structure will emerge, with 720P sets serving as promotional lead-in sets at retail. Vizio's move to introduce 42", 46" and 52" LCD TVs will stake claim to the low end of the market through retailers like Sam's Club, Costco, BJ's and the like with typically $300 below the first-tier brands. New 42" W (wide) 720p plasma TVs will have to sell at $999 day-in, day-out, and retailers will reserve higher prices for 1080p capable models.

The emerging two-tier structure is apparent in Toshiba's new TV lineup of six 720p Regza LCD tvs with screens up to 42"W. All incorporate a 14-bit PixelPure 3G video processor, a step up from last years models. The models also sport a dynamic backlight control that works with pixelpure to monitor incoming signal brightness levels. Their step-up HL167 Series will move to the 1080p resolution adding a 52"W model to the line of 42" and 47".The LCD sets also have other inherent proprietary technologies that handle and enhance source signals to eliminate blurring of fast moving objects.

On the Plasma side , Panasonic is responding with a 42" 1080p TVs  that integrate more then 2 million pixels into their 42" TV, more then double the pixels of the 720p models. This was a major technological feat for the hold on the 42" 1080p model was physical size of the pixel. Panasonic has decreased the rib size (tracks) and changed phosphor materials to gain the advantage of 1080p in 42"W plasma. Now the company offers 42"W, 50"W, 58"W, 65"W and 103"W models in native 1080p. Bravo

For its part LG will confine its 1080p plasma sets to 71", 60" and 50" models that will ship in Spring 2007 and the second half of the year. A bit behind the rest of the lot. Word is that LG is having a bit of a problem accomplishing what Panasonic has in pixel size decrease. One thing will be smaller for LG is that the price of their 71" plasma will be cut from $69,000 (Special order) to $14,999 full stock item. LG announced also a new 42" ED (852 x 480) piece that will remain in the line. Probable to soak up ED inventory.

Sharp is reading its 108" LCD 1080p panel for commercial applications initially as reported by senior vice president, Robert Scaglione. At the same time it has reduced the price of its 65"W plasma set to $9,999. from $19,999.

Pioneer Corp's efforts in 1080p plasma displays cover more then the new 42" and 50"W sets, the company has developed a new ASIC video processor in a single chip design that will allow a lower price point on all models. Pioneer's PureDrive video processor required six or seven (depending on screen size) chips for the same functions.

What is happening now is that flat panel TVs with 1080p resolution are cutting into sales of rear projection sets that enjoyed an edge because of their screen size and resolution. DLP, LCD, and LCos based rear projection TVs are continuing to focus on 1080p, but sales of sets peaked last year will continue flat this year and begin a four year decline, according to industry analysis.

Comment .....   All the above is exactly what the consumer has been promised for the past six or so years, a flat screen in many sizes with the maximum number of native pixels to achieve 1080p resolution without any conversion. All we can say is... about time and we salute the companies in the forefront of the engineering process. Big box sales personnel have always been ones to promise a leading edge product, even when one truly did not exist. The statements above, which say that true 1080p flat panels in 42" plasma will soon hit the market might be a surprise to all the folks that initially bought into a 42" HDTV panel and were told that it would present the HDTV signal. Not a lie per se, but did they know that the panel would only be able to project a 720p picture and not a 1080p native picture. The 720p signal is considered HDTV, just not the highest level. All our clients were in the know. This is why our company plays an important part for our clients, in weeding out the white lies and laying out the true specifics of the products we represent and sell.. This is also why we have become more important as the time goes on, for an unsuspected buyer can purchase a piece of glass that not only lacks the necessary technology to perform as expected, but can purchase a piece of glass that is 2 or 3 generations behind new product without ever knowing. Buyer beware or contact Custom Audio-Video Systems for a product that is exactly at your requested performance level and budget. We rest our case.

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