Laser-Visionaries

What is cooler than Dr. Evil's sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads? Nothing. Stupid question. But what's the second coolest thing to use laser beams? That would be Mitsubishi's new Laser TV, which had its worldwide unveiling last night at the 53rd floor of the Palms hotel in the Moon Nightclub.

The laser TV has been in development for years, and I was concerned it might ultimately turn into another piece of vaporware. Quite to the contrary, Mitsubishi's hard work paid off last night. While they were very hush-hush about the particulars of how the set works (we do feel it's safe to say it involves actual lasers), its exact release date, sizes, and cost, the company did say . . . well, okay, they really didn't say anything. Their only statement was to the world: "Behold! Look unto what we have made!"

We do know that the set will be available later in 2008, that it will come in larger sizes, that it will be 1080p, that it will have an ultra-high contrast ratio, and that it will be comparable to similarly sized flat panel technologies. My guess is that the 65-inch set they demonstrated will sell for around $5,500. Also, the laser, which serves as the light source for the DLP chip, is designed to last the life of the set, and will not be replaceable. The Mits rep I spoke with said they know their customers keep their sets for a long time, sometimes 20 years, and the laser is meant to last at least that long.

Note the set is svelte, measuring less than 10-inches deep, and it will be wall-mountable. It also has an extremely narrow bezel, resulting in a display that's practically all-screen.

Some memorable quotes from the unveiling: "Laser is the very best solution for big screen TV entertainment;" "Laser TV will create a new category in the TV market;" "Laser is the most pure and intense light source on the planet;" "The best way to predict the future is to invent it."

Part of the promise of laser TV is to deliver a color gamut never before seen. Mitsubishi claims current HDTVs display less than 40 percent of the color spectrum our eyes can see. This set doubles that, so now we can experience the widest array of complex colors along with improved clarity and depth of field.

And sure enough, the TV looked stunning. Blacks were deep and stable, but most apparent were the striking level of reds. Simply, the set displayed reds I've never seen from a TV before. In the several movie clips displayed, all colors leapt off the screen. Notably was the light-saber duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan at the end of Episode III, where the lava seethed and boiled with a fury never seen before.

This will definitely be a saga Sound & Vision continues to follow . . . (the Mitsubishi laser TV that is, not Anakin and Obi-Wan - they're over with).

www.mitsubishi-tv.com

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