High Flier: Runco's CW-42i

One of the electronics industry's dirty little secrets is that plasma display panels (PDPs) can exhibit all kinds of problems at higher altitudes. Home theater fans in places like Vail, CO (altitude 8500') have been plagued by buzzing noises and other strange behaviors when trying to enjoy films or television programs on PDPs.

To the rescue: Runco International. On August 19, the Union City, CA–video pioneer announced the CW-42i widescreen flat panel display monitor. The new model is designed to operate at altitudes up to 9000' above sea level, making it an ideal choice for installations in high-altitude locales. Replacing the CW-42, the CW-42i sports many improvements over its predecessor, including a new fan-free design, making it perfect for applications where quiet operation is required. The new model is 20% brighter and features an anti-glare filter to diffuse direct light sources, making it easy to view in adverse lighting conditions.

The CW-42i's screen measures 42" diagonally. The entire chassis is less than 4" deep, and can be wall-mounted, stand-mounted, or custom installed. Native resolution is spec'd at 853 x 480; the CW-42I claimed "capable of reproducing all available HDTV formats (via an outboard DTV decoder), including 480p, 720p and 1080i." The new PDP features Runco's "Vivix" video processing, with "3D-scan conversion with motion compensation and 3:2 pulldown for excellent video performance with both video-based and film-based material," according to an August 19 announcement.

It also offers multiple aspect ratio control, including a "Runco Virtual Wide" mode that fills the 16:9 screen with standard 4:3 images "without loss of picture quality." Its input array includes DVI w/HDCP for 480p digital video signals and custom automation control via RS-232C and IR interfaces. The CW-42I is a "best in class" product, according to Runco sales and marketing vice president Ben Jamison. Available in early September, the CW-42i will sell for $7995.