By Sean CaptainPosted 01.07.2008 at 2:00 am 0 Comments
Hitachi claims that image quality on its slim TVs will be the same as on its standard models.
Your standard LCD may be svelte compared with the old tube set, but at about four inches thick, it hardly hangs flat like a picture frame. For that, you need Hitachi's new Ultra Slim TV, redesigned to a negligible 1.5 inches thick but up to 42 inches diagonally. In principle, Ultra Slim models work the same as standard LCDs: Fluorescent tubes illuminate a liquid-crystal display from behind.
Remember the old days—three months ago—when a 1.5-inch thick
LCD TV seemed skinny? My, how times have changed.
Today in Las Vegas,
Pioneer announced a prototype 50-inch plasma screen with no bezel (frame)
around it and just 9 millimeters of thickness. (The iPhone is 12mm fat.) This
blows away anything in the LCD realm and comes awfully close to Sonys OLED TV
(which is 3mm thick but also limited to a 10-inch diagonal screen size for the
How did Pioneer do it? They arent saying yet, but for years
the company has been re-working plasma panels—rejiggering the cells,
eliminating sheets of glass or plastic filters—to get them skinner. Although
the intention there had been to make screen images look better, not to affect
how the screen itself looks.
Black is Black
Speaking of screen images, Pioneer also announced a
prototype that does what had seemed impossible: When it shows video with dark
scenes, black is actually black not muddy gray like on every other TV (or
projector) in human history.
Pioneers Kuro plasmas won a Pop Sci Best of Whats New
Grand Award recently for cutting so-called idle luminance (the residual
brightness even in black scenes) by 80% over early models. With todays
announcement, Pioneer seems to be saying it has eliminated the remaining 20%.
If so, theyve done what had always been considered impossible.
I want my thin, black TV!
So when can you get this goodness? Definitely not in 2008,
says Pioneer. But they do plan to make sets (in 2009?) that combine both the
super-slim and absolute black technologies. Whew! Glad I didnt shell out a ton
of dough for that LCD TV I was thinking about getting.—Sean Captain
Want more? Check out our entire CES 2008 coverage here.
By Sean CaptainPosted 10.05.2007 at 11:53 am 1 Comment
After years of promises from tech companies and premature prognostications by magazines like—oh, PopSci—the OLED TV is here. All 11 inches of it, for about $1,700.
What? Im supposed to shell out all those bucks (Actually Yen, since its only in Japan) for a glorified portable DVD player? Sure, the colors are brilliant, the contrast is eye-popping and the screen is implausibly thin. But lets remember the main reason we love new TVs—because theyre huge.
So why is Sony holding back on us? Turns out they havent quite figure out how to make a bigger OLED TV. For the small panels, Sony heats up the organic material into a vapor that condenses, sifts through a screen, and settles neatly on the glass. But this method wont work for big screens and high resolution. (The current model is a sub-high-def 960 by 540 pixels.)
To go bigger, Sony has to switch to a new method in which they lay a sheet of OLED on the glass and somehow use a laser to make it stick. Thats about all I could get through the broken-English explanation. (Not that Im complaining. Im so grateful for all the Japanese who struggled to say something to me that I could understand.)
So when will they get that new method down and start pumping out the big(ger) OLEDs? Itll be a few years, they say. Sigh.—Sean Captain