The most surprising demo at the show was a demo of a next generation Pioneer plasma that stole quite a bit of SED’s thunder. It had legitimate blacks (seemingly as good as SED). They’re claiming a 20,000:1 contrast ratio, and from the demo it sure looked like it could be close to that. I’d love to tell you more, but the entire presentation was in Japanese. I’ll put up some photos later of the Powerpoint, and you can try to translate them. At the earliest, it may be a model for next year. I’m sure we’ll hear more at CES.
As rumored, Toshiba/Canon showed off three 55-inch SED displays, proving without a doubt that they can make at least three SED panels. They looked as impressive as the oft-seen 37-inch, with a mix of pre-recorded (and motion filled) colorful images, and even a live action scene (with a camera on a person and puppet that was in sight of the audience). Here’s the bad news: They’re now saying the end of 2007, but with no definite pricing or quantity.
CEATEC is an interesting show. The portion that deals with the stuff we cover is rather small. The rest of the show tends to be manufacturers that make the parts of the stuff we cover. I’ll take some pictures of those bits tomorrow.
If there is one thing that just screams "future" to me, it's lasers. Sure, they've been around since the 1960s, but come on—it's lasers! Right now, they can be found in your CD and DVD players, but a few companies are hoping to put them in your TV, as well.
JVC was showing off a new 1080p projector. They claim a 10,000:1 contrast ratio without the use of an iris. They’re not sure on pricing yet, but they’re expecting sub-$7000 (as in $6,999.99 probably). Look for it around February.
While there was no pricing or availability info, Hitachi’s 65-inch 1080p plasma sure was pretty. They also were showing a 42-inch 1920-by-1080 panel. While the necessity of that resolution in a panel that size is dubious at best, it was cool none the less. It uses ALiS, so it’s possible to call this a 1080i plasma.
Perhaps even cooler than the $999 720p Optoma (see below), Mitsubishi revealed a $4,495 1080p projector, called the HC5000BL. It’s going to use the Reon VX chip from Silicon Optix and have a claimed 10,000:1 contrast ratio with a dynamic iris. No DLP here, it has 3 LCDs inside. They’re hoping to ship later this month.
Optoma announced they are shipping their HD81 1080p front projector. Hopefully they’ll be shipping one to us soon. It has a 16 step auto-iris and a separate input box with a Gennum VXP chip for scaling, all for $6,999.