CEDIA, Pythonized: New Hitachi HDTVs are onlee wahfair theen.

Hitachi is joining the legions of TV manufacturers making their big screens screens slimmer, thinner, narrower, and measuring significantly less physical depth. At CEDIA 2008, the company revealed details on large-screen models of its UltraThin line of 1.5-inch-thick HDTVs.

The series itself is nothing new; 32-inch, 37-inch, and 42-inch screens have been trickling in since last spring. The 32-inch models offer only 1080i resolution, but every other UltraThin TV offers a 1080p picture.

The big news is Hitachi's new 47-inch and 50-inch HDTVs. The 47-inch LCD stands as the biggest LCD in the line, while the 50-inch UltraThin presents Hitachi's first and only 1.5-inch-thick plasma screen so far. The 47-inch LCD, coming in both Ultra Vision (UT47V702) and the slightly more high-end Director's Series (UT47X902) versions, will ship by the end of the month and retail for $3,499 (Ultra Vision) and $3,699 (Director's Series). The larger screens come at a much heftier price tag than the 42-inch LCDs, which have been available for a few months and retail for about $1,000 less.

The UltraThin plasma is a bit more of a mystery. Most of the newest ultra-thin HDTVs showed off at CEDIA have, so far, been LCDs, so Hitachi's slender plasma screen stands out a fair bit. Unfortunately, while Hitachi showed it off at the expo, it hasn't announced any pricing or availability. It will be a fairly high-end 1080p HDTV, with x.v. Color and Deep Color support, an automatic 2:3 film pulldown mode, and RS-232C support for custom remote setups. Not bad for one of the thinnest plasma screens this side of Pioneer's concept Kuro. - Will