New Tech 2010: 3D At Home Page 3

OTHER (NON-3D) TV NEWS

Unlikely though it may seem, there are some non-3D-related TV trends to talk about for 2010. Many of the 3D TVs already discussed exemplify these developments, which include ultra-thin LCD panels, LED-backlit sets with screen sizes ranging to 60 inches and up, and the establishment of 240 hz as the baseline refresh rate norm for higher-end LCD displays.

With a 0.3-inch panel depth — same as my iPod touch — Samsung’s aforementioned C9000 series TVs have set a new benchmark for “flat.” Combine that with these sets’ ability to be mass-produced at a relatively affordable price, and it comes as no surprise that video manufacturers have put super-thin OLED technology on the back burner. (Although a few prototype OLEDs could be seen here and there at CES 2010, including 3D-capable small-screen TVs in the Sony and Samsung booths.)

Anyone wondering just how large LEDbacklit LCD TVs can get need look no further than Vizio’s 72-inch XVT Pro series set, a forthcoming 3D-capable model that actually has a price tag ($3,500). Now that I’ve mentioned Vizio, the company’s prototype 21:9 aspect ratio LCD is another TV that caught my eye at CES. A few years ago, an ultra-wide video display at a trade show would have been akin to a concept car — a one-off design that will never see the light of day as a real product. But Vizio, no doubt encouraged by the growing popularity of home theater projection setups with 2.35:1 aspect ratio screens, actually expects to move this concept to market sometime in 2010.

With the exception of the Panasonic and Samsung 3D sets mentioned earlier, most of the TVs I’ve covered have been LCD models. But there’s also some news on the plasma front. Panasonic’s V25, V20, g25, and g20 series TVs all feature a new Infinite black panel design with a native (not dynamic) contrast ratio that Panasonic spec’s at 5,000,000: 1. Having seen these Infinite black TVs in action at CES, I must say that even in that imperfect trade show environment, their black levels strongly reminded me of Pioneer’s late, lamented Kuro plasmas.

Panasonic isn’t the only plasma TV company at work making blacks blacker. Samsung’s new PNC8000 models sport its Real black screen filter to help darken shadowy scenes. And LG, another maker still putting out plasmas, has its own spin on black enhancement: New LG PK950 and PK750 models (available in 50- and 60- inch screen sizes) will be equipped with a trublack filter to both deepen blacks and reduce onscreen glare when viewing in bright rooms.

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