While rear-projection seems to be losing steam, Mitsubishi is doing its best to breathe new life into non-flat HDTVs with its introduction of the world's first model with a picture powered by a laser-based light engine. Unfortunately, the product's smoke-and-hyperbole-filled introduction at the Palms hotel's Rain nightclub, while long on lighting effects, was short on details. Pricing and available screen sizes were not announced -- only that the product will hit the market this year.
According to the press release, the laser light engine allows the TV to produce twice the color spectrum of current HDTVs. The brief demo provided little opportunity to test this claim, although black levels looked dark enough (albeit crushed -- lacking shadow detail, which was probably a result of improper calibration) and off-angle viewing appeared better than other DLPs'. The company presenter mentioned that lasers were extremely bright, and the demonstration models at the event were also quite thin, so the laser TV will be wall-mount capable.
We first reported on this technology nearly two years ago, so in lieu of updated details on laser TV we'll quote from that blog post regarding more potential benefits, according to the company at the time. "Compared to current DLP HDTVs, the most promising aspect of the technology seems to be its ability to deliver deeper blacks. Current lamp-driven projection technologies require the lamp to be permanently switched on, which can cause internal reflections and other issues that contribute to a lighter shade of black onscreen. Since the lasers switch off entirely, they have the potential to create a pure black, according to the company. Mitsubishi also claims that the laser light source can produce better color, is more efficient, and has an essentially 'permanent' life span, as opposed to the bulb, which needs to be replaced every 3,000 hours or so in standard DLPs. [Most] current DLPs also use a color wheel that can introduce rainbows, artifacts that the three-color lasers would likely eliminate or greatly reduce."
Attending press were also treated to a demo of the set's 3-D capability, which relied on a pair of shuttered glasses and looked very impressive across a variety of custom content. A rep for RealD, the company behind the technology, mentioned that production was a significant hurdle for 3-D content because live-action material had to be either shot with 3-D in mind (a two-camera shoot) or 3-D-ified after the fact by hand -- a process much more laborious than colorization of black-and-white films, for example. Computer-generated content, on the other hand, lends itself much more readily to 3-D.
Further details regarding the Mitsubishi laser TV will probably be released at the company's line show in May, probably via the apparently faith-based web site believingisseeing.tv.