Planar showed off a prototype LCD panel that is the coolest thing I’ve seen so far at the show. It’s a normal LCD panel with 800 individual LED backlights that are on an active matrix back plane. What that means is that each LED is individually addressable depending on the video signal. Want a section of the screen to be dark? Dim the backlight in that area. The result is a fantastic legitimate contrast ratio, and actual blacks (cause the light is off). The picture above is just what the backlight is doing with the LCD “off.” It’s at least a year away from a real product, but it looks amazing. More on this in the future.
Toshiba also debuted their Cinema Series Pro line of LCDs, in 42 and 47-inch varieties. They’re both 1080p, have 12-bit processing, and an 8ms response time. It sports a RJ-45 connector to connect the TV to a PC to view pictures and apparently get your email. The 42LZ196 will be $3,399 and the 47LZ196 will be $4,599. Both are available this month.
To very few people’s surprise, Sony announced a “Baby-Ruby”, as in a baby brother to their 1080p SXRD front projector the VPL-VW100. What was surprising is the price: $4,999, lower than most people were expecting. They also claim it will take the 1080p/24, and display it at 96Hz. The 1080p SXRD chips carry over, this time in a smaller, yet still stylish, case. The model number is VPL-VW50. Oh, and it will be available this month.
Toshiba today announced their next generation HD DVD players, which has to be some kind of record. After all, the first generation of players has only been out for 6 months. The HD-A2 is $499 and will be out in October. It’s still 1080i. More interesting is the HD-XA2, at $999. This one (shown) is 1080p and HDMI 1.3. It will be available in December.
For those not excited about projectors (see below), Sony unveiled a 52-inch LCD, the KDL-52XBR2. It’s 1080p of course, and sports a 1300:1 “on-screen” contrast ratio. It’s $6,500, but if you don’t like silver, the KDL-52XBR3 is $300 more and has a black bezel. They’ll be available in November. Also, the BDP-S1 Blu-ray player should ship late October.
Sharp showed a new line of LCDs sporting a new bezel design; piano black with silver. The 42-inch (LC-42D62U), 1080p model has a claimed 6ms response time and a 1300:1 native contrast ratio at a price of $2,499. Also in the line are a 46-inch LC-46D62U ($3,499), and a 52-inch LC-52D62U ($4,799). Both of these larger panels are 4ms. They will have 1080p inputs and will be available in October. The XV-Z20000 projector (we saw at CES 9 months ago) is coming out this month in all its 1080p glory for $11,999.
Panasonic announced two new LCD projectors, the 720p PT-AX100U ($2,999) and the 1080p PT-AE1000U (no price yet) which you see here. The AX100 has an auto-iris and “Smooth Screen” technology to reduce the screen door effect. The AE1000 has a glass lens, auto-iris, 14-bit gamma correction, and a claimed 11,000:1 contrast ratio for the AE1000. Priced right, this one could be very cool.
This new technology could replace plasma and LCD as the must-have for flat-panel displays.
Plasma and LCD are dead. Well, at least that's what Kodak, Dupont, Universal Display Corporation, and a few others would like you to start thinking. One of the new technologies coming down the HT highway is called Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED), and it could be the future of flat-panel displays. Soon your TV may be able to trace its lineage back to the power light on your VCR.