"Contrast ratio is officially irrelevant." That was the claim today from Pioneer, which unveiled two new concept TVs that have the potential to re-write the rules on flat panel displays.
The first, codenamed 'Extreme contrast model' produces blacks that are actually black, rather than the slight grey seen on all flat-panel televisions today, with such a high contrast ratio "it cannot be measured", said the company. The secret to the wonder-telly's none-more-black black levels is that the light normally given off by the cells that aren't in use has been eliminated, which Pioneer says is so effective, if you walk into a dark room with the TV turned on, you wouldn't know it. (Flat panel TVs tend to glow a little in such situations.)
The other concept model paraded on the presentation screen was the underwhelmingly-named 'concept model for advanced design', a 50-inch plasma screen that's just 9mm thick. That's thinner than most mobile phones. Weighing just 18.6kg, the idea behind this thinness is to make it easier to mount the TV on a wall, using a specially designed bracket to make it appear as if it's 'floating'.
Sounds great -- where do we sign? Ah, that's the trouble, neither of these concept models will be commercialised this year, nor has Pioneer said when it will be able to put them into shops. At the moment, the extreme contrast and the advanced design models are seperate entities, but the company hopes to roll both ideas into a future product. Hopefully it'll think of some snappier names at the same time. So perhaps contrast ratio is still actually rather relevant after all. -Jason Jenkins