Monday, January 7, 2008

11-foot-wide TV from Panasonic,
3-mm-thick TV from Sony,
and more from CES

Along with about 140,000 others, I'm at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where the makers of big boys' toys show off their latest salivation stimulators. The show doesn't open for about 11 more hours, but a few rumors and reports have leaked out, and it's my duty to pass them on.

If you thought you could out-geek your neighbors by ordering a 103-inch plasma, or 108-inch LCD -- try to get your deposit back. Panasonic will be revealing a monstrous 150-inch plasma HDTV later today that stands six feet high and stretches 11 feet wide. It reportedly weighs more than 500 lbs and is expected to sell for about $100,000.

MONDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: According to Panasonic, "the 150-inch plasma delivers dynamic, overwhelming image quality with an 8.84 million pixel resolution (2,160 x 4,096) ―- more than four times the 1080p HD specification (1,080 x 1,920). The prototype has a screen size equivalent to nine 50-inch TVss with an effective viewing area of 11 ft (W) x 6 1/4 ft (H). With the enhanced plasma display technologies Panasonic accumulated in the development of its 103-inch set, the 150-inch model provides stable and uniform images across the vast expanse of the screen and the same brightness as the 103-inch. Featuring true-to-life color reproduction capability and quick response to moving images, the ultra-large PDP renders clear, crisp, spectacular images unrivaled by any other."

In other CES news:

Panasonic's traditional rival Sony is touting Organic Light Emitting Diode ("OLED") TVs at CES (second photo). They could eventually replace LCD and plasma TVs, with brighter screens, 1,000,000-to-one contrast ratio, lower power consumption and much thinner bodies. Sony said it would immediately start selling an 11-inch diagonal, 3-millimeter thick OLED TV for about $2,000. Three millimeters is about the same thickness as three credit cards! Samsung also has OLED TVs at CES with 14-inch and 31-inch screens, and Sony is showing a 27-inch OLED prototype, but these three sets are not ready to be marketed. The color, contrast, and sharpness of these TVs are absolutely breathtaking!!! If plasma was as good as a Kodachrome slide, OLED is as good as a very clean window. OLED technology goes back about 30 years, and is now used in some cellphone displays. If/when prices come down for bigger sizes, it's goodbye to LCD and plasma -- at least until something else comes around.

Despite Warner Brothers' recently announced backing of Blu-ray hi-def discs, Toshiba insists their HD HVD format isn't dead (at least not yet), but a press conference scheduled by the HD DVD promotional group was canceled.

Microsoft will distribute movies from MGM, and TV shows from ABC and Disney Channel, through MSN and Xbox 360.

Belkin's mini Podcast Studio converts your iPod into a portable recording studio, for less than a hundred bucks. The device cradles a fifth-generation, Classic, or third-gen Nano and runs on two AAA batteries. It has a speaker and microphone, PLUS dual 3.5mm jacks and a pro-style XLR port for connecting external mics.

Bill Gates made his last keynote address before riding off into the sunset, to concentrate on giving his money away.

General Motors is demo-ing a driver-less car. No word yet on who gets the speeding tickets.

The eMotion Digital Photo Watch can toggle between digital display of date, time or photos in slide show or single image mode on its 1.5" LCD screen. Internal memory holds about 75 pictures. $29.99.

Video goggles from Vuzix let you watch movies and other video images from your iPod, with an apparent wide-screen size of 62 inches. $349.

General CES theme is GREEN, with lots of companies promoting energy efficiency and recycling.

Another big theme is wireless connectivity. Panasonic has equipment to send hi-def video, plus audio, to your TV, without wires. Your HDTV will still need a power cord, however.

I'll have more info from CES in the coming weeks.

(photos from Reuters & USA Today)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"(1,080 x 1,920)"

Your putting your Width/Hight backwards.