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LCD TVs getting a lot slimmer soon

Sharp, Hitachi and JVC are showing off LCD TVs with panels that are less than an inch thick.

CHIBA, Japan--Sharp, Hitachi and JVC are taking the bulk out of large LCD televisions.

All three manufacturers are showing off LCD TVs here at Ceatec this week with panels that are less than an inch thick. The TV stand and the electronics add bulk, but the electronics can be put in the base of the stand or in a unit that connects to the TV wirelessly.

Hitachi's groovy slim TVs--a red one and a side view of a white one. Michael Kanellos/CNET

Hitachi had the thinnest. It showed off a 32-inch TV with a panel that measured only 19 millimeters thick. Sharp showed off a 52-inch TV with a 20-millimeter thick panel. There are 25 millimeters to an inch. A typical thin LCD panel on the market today is a couple of inches thick, according to Hitachi.

JVC's was the thickest of the three at 22 millimeters, but the company also likes to point out that it will be selling its thin LCD TVs this spring. The sets will start at 42 inches and get larger from there. Hitachi won't come out with its TV until 2009. Sharp has been vague about when it might release its thin LCD.

All three manufacturers are fairly vague about how they accomplished their respective feats. Hitachi says it's the light source it's putting in the TV. However, the company won't say what the light source is. JVC is using a fluorescent light source, not LEDs, but it won't get more specific than that.

Everyone is also tweaking the performance of their TVs in other ways. JVC, for instance, showed off a technology for reducing image noise in LCD TVs. Software in the TV creates a 3D simulation of images coming across the TV. It then tweaks the 2D image that will come across the TV to you by data it obtains in the 3D simulation to make a more accurate image.

Hitachi, meanwhile, said it will try to make a lot of news at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. The company wants to move upmarket in TVs by emphasizing, among other factors, industrial design.