Lasers Point the Way to Better HDTVs

Despite the fact that the laser was invented in 1958 - or so claim Bell Labs and Mssrs. Schawlow and Townes - "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation" devices can still wow even the most jaded technophile (especially when they're used to burn holes in things or otherwise cause spectacular, glowing destruction). Now Mitsubishi wants to harness the power of lasers for less destructive but still highly entertaining purposes.

At its 2006 National Dealer Line Show in Las Vegas, Mitsubishi demonstrated what the company claims is the world's first laser-based HDTV. Mitsubishi's laser-based projection system uses separate red, green, and blue semiconductor lasers aimed at a Texas Instruments 1080p DLP HDTV chip.

Why use lasers in a high-definition projection TV (other than the obvious super-cool I-got-to-have-it marketing aspects)?

Mitsubishi says their laser technology offers "an expanded color depth and the widest color gamut possible from any display source, including LED-lighted displays." The color gamut is said to be 1.8 times greater than that of normal LCD televisions.

Mitsubishi also claims that laser-based HDTVs will require a much smaller footprint than large-size flat-panel plasma and LCD HDTVs - which it says require stand depths of up to 15 inches (for sets with screen sizes of 50 inches) due to the fact they're heavy and have a relatively high center of gravity. Laser technology can result in an HDTV that's lighter with a much lower center of gravity so a smaller footprint table-top stand can be used. A further advantage of laser technology is its scalability which means Mitsubishi should be able to provide thin display devices with larger screen sizes that are easier to produce and less expensive than current flat-panel sets.

No word yet on when Mitsubishi expects to bring commercially available sets using the new laser-based display technology to market - or what the anticipated price points might be.

We're hoping the remote controls that come with the new HDTVs will have built-in laser pointers so we can annoy anyone else in the room while we're watching TV...

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