When Pioneer invited us into a darkened theater at CES, we
saw three plasma panels displaying “black” screens—what turned out to be light-gray
rectangles. Thing is, there were actually four TVs in the room. The fourth was Pioneer’s
new prototype, which gave off no light at all and was invisible.
Amazingly, those three other TVs are the blackest
sets on the market—Pioneer’s original Kuro line that won a Best of What’s New
grand award in December specifically for it’s amazing black levels.
To get the screens so dark, Pioneer reduced their so-called
“idle luminance” – the amount of light the pixels produce even when they are
“off.” Idle luminance comes from the need to keep the pixels primed with an
electric charge so they can fire in milliseconds (or less) to create
In the original Kuro, Pioneer reduced the idle luminance by
80 percent. In the latest Kuro prototype, they seem to have eliminated the
other 20 percent. Does that mean they are not priming the pixels at all? I
asked their head honcho for the US,
and he said he didn’t know. The tech is so new, he’s not sure how it works. But
it may work fundamentally differently than any other plasma TV.
The goal is to eventually combine this technology with the
ultra-skinny plasma set that Pioneer also introduced at CES.
So when can you get it? Again Pioneer won’t say. But they
did mention something interesting. When the Kuro project started, their goal
was to get to this level of performance and introduce a product in time for the
Beijing Olympics in the summer of 2008.—Sean Captain
Want more? Check out our entire CES 2008 coverage here.
The incredible innovations, like drone swarms and perpetual flight, bringing aviation into the world of tomorrow. Plus: today's greatest sci-fi writers predict the future, the science behind the summer's biggest blockbusters, a Doctor Who-themed DIY 'bot, the organs you can do without, and much more.