HDTV Plasma-Display Market Expanding

A plasma display's compact physical size, perfectly flat screen, and pixel-sharp picture answer many prayers for home-theater enthusiasts. There are a few downsides, however, including a lack of true blacks and prices equal to a new small car. But one of the biggest drawbacks so far is far too few pixels to properly present an HDTV image. To solve this problem, several manufacturers are creating larger displays with higher resolutions.

The latest entry in the high-resolution plasma-display field is NEC Technologies, who have just introduced their new 50" display, the PlasmaSync 5000W. The company says the new device is equipped with the highest native resolution of any 50" plasma display available today, and it also provides built-in scan-conversion technology for compatibility with computer, high-definition video, and conventional video signals.

According to NEC, the PlasmaSync 5000W sports a resolution of 1365x768, displaying more than one million pixels on its 16:9 screen. The company has also incorporated its AccuBlend scan-conversion technology into the monitor. As a result, NEC says, the display is compatible with current computer-graphics standards up to SXGA at 60Hz progressive, as well as the three proposed widescreen computer-graphics standards currently being considered by VESA (Video Electronics Standards Association). The company claims that the monitor is also compatible with all three of the primary HDTV signal formats, as well as conventional standard-definition video signals, including composite and S-video NTSC, PAL, and SECAM.

NEC says customers will be able to select one of three preset color temperatures and make adjustments to the red, green, and blue levels to customize color settings to match their application requirements or personal preferences. Other features include RS232 serial connection, image scaling, wired/wireless remote control, onscreen menu system, multiple inputs, built-in audio amplifier, and a variety of wall, ceiling, and tabletop mounting options.

The PlasmaSync 5000W will be available in July 1999; retail price to be announced.