CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW: CNET editors cover the Next Big Thing
True HDTV and other fun acronyms
By David Katzmaier
(December 15, 2004)
High-definition, flat-panel, and wacky acronyms have been the hallmarks of CESs past, and 2005 looks to be no different. We can't give you all the specifics yet--we've been sworn to secrecy--but we can discuss some trends and give you a good idea of what to expect in new TV tech.
1080p: true HDTV resolution
Since the first HDTV-compatible televisions appeared on the market, videophiles and curmudgeons alike have pointed out that despite their beautiful pictures, very few of those TVs could display true high-def. In other words, they couldn't resolve every pixel of a 1080i image, which requires 1,920x1,080 pixels (a.k.a. 1080p) in a fixed-pixel TV. Exceptions to that rule include massive, expensive projection tube televisions that use 9-inch CRTs; a handful of LCoS-based projection TVs; and a few new large, flat-panel LCD televisions, such as the Sharp LC-45GX6U and the Samsung LTP468W.
Next year, you'll definitely see more sets touted as true HDTVs. More companies will enter the 1080p flat-panel LCD fray, and we may also see very large plasma TVs with 1080p resolution. Microdisplay sets will follow suit. Here's a breakdown of the various TV technologies and what we can expect to see from each at CES 2005.
Last year, Samsung demonstrated a prototype 1080p DLP-based HDTV, and it now says it will ship a working version, the HLP5697 ($5,999 list), by the first quarter of 2005. Other DLP heavyweights are bound to follow suit. In terms of style, we also expect more and less-expensive imitators of RCA and Infocus's dramatically thinner DLP sets.
slim-profile LCD sets, as microdisplay makers chase the plasma form factor.
The almost-forgotten stepchild among microdisplays was actually the first to achieve 1080p resolution, and there should be renewed interest in the technology. JVC has had success with its D-ILA variant of LCoS, seen in the HD-52Z575, and may announce a 1080p version at the show. Sony has already been selling a 1080p LCoS variant, dubbed SXRD, which will appear in the KDS-70XBR100 ($11,000 list) in January. We expect further SXRD-based announcements from the company at CES or a bit later at its February line show.
Flat-panel plasma TVs have reached a sort of price plateau at $2,000 for a 42-inch set, and we don't expect anyone to announce a $1,000 plasma this year. We do expect lots of Digital Cable Ready plasmas (indeed, the DCR logo will be everywhere on TV sets in 2005) and, of course, even greater screen sizes. Can anyone breach the 80-inch barrier?
Aside from DCR, 1080p, and larger screen sizes (maybe they'll push 60 inches), the flat-panel LCDs of 2005 will be cheaper than ever and challenge plasma price-wise at around 42 inches. We'll also see newer backlight technologies attempt to replace the tried-and-true fluorescent lights that illuminate today's LCD panels. Sony's Qualia line again provides an indication: the 46-inch LCD announced in September, model 005 ($12,000), uses an LED backlight to produce a wider, more realistic color gamut.
While many manufacturers are slimming down the selection of rear-projection CRTs, both LG.Philips and Samsung have announced slimmer direct-view tubes. Samsung's 30-incher has a depth of 16 inches. That's about as slim as a plasma or an LCD TV on a stand, and it should cost much less while delivering the good black levels and other picture perks associated with tubes.
Of course, CNET will be all over the show floor this January, and we'll bring you news of announcements as soon as we get them (or when the NDAs lift). Stay tuned.
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