They've almost become ubiquitous, these 16:9, 34-inch direct-view HDTVs. When the first one came out in 1999 from Sony, it cost $8000, in part because it was the only direct-view HDTV available. In the five years since, most other manufacturers have jumped into this market. Prices have plummeted, and the general quality of the offerings has soared (although that original Sony remains the best one I've ever seen). Most manufacturers are now offering third- or even fourth-generation products in this category.