Pioneer To Show 50" Plasma TV Less Than 1/2-inch Thin!

Editor Guy Disclaimer: Our web monkey hates stock photos at trade shows, so in my defense here I'll merely state that you need to know about this right away, no product was shown at the press conference, and the lighting conditions were hideous. I have pictures, and they're horrible.

Now, if you've not been living under a rock you know that Pioneer's Project KURO plasmas have radically changed the performance standards of flat panel TVs as an entire category. Groundbreaking blacks and contrast. But according to Pioneer, we ain't seen nothin' yet.

Pioneer announced that it will be showing in its booth tomorrow two conceptual designs that aim even higher (and lower, at least in black levels). The first is an "Extreme Contrast" plasma that Pioneer claims will effectively end contrast ratio as a discussion point in plasma TV performance by producing blacks so low they can't be measured, thus delivering infinite contrast ratio. Maybe they'll just put a "conservative" number like 500,00:1 on it, just because they apparently can.

The second conceptual design, of which we're told we'll see a working sample (hence the bizarre headline for the post) tomorrow, is a display to shallow front to back that Pioneer is referring to it as being "9mm thin" not "9mm thick." And yes, you read that right. A 50" plasma TV with less front to back depth than the iPhone in my pocket. Checking the handy unit converter in my MacBook, that's 0.35" thick in a world which now considers 3.5-4" to be slim profile.

Convergence Editor Chris Chiarella says this new way super flat plasma should be dubbed Project UZI, due to the 9mm reference, and I liked that enough to steal it.

All I can say is wow. Or at least perhaps I will once I actually see the prototypes and especially the UZI. But apparently, Pioneer's amazing KURO plasmas aren't quite the last word on where plasma is going.