January 9, 2007
Panasonic has some new toys out:
- a new "LIFI" LCD rear-projection micro-display in 50", 56", and 61",
- three new LCD flat-panel models (two 32" sets and one 26", all 1366 x 768),
- a prototype 42" 1920 x 1080 plasma TV, and
- two new 1920 x 1080 plasma sets (50" and 58") to be available this summer.
The LIFI sets use a new type of lamp that does not dim with time, lasts a long time, and has a fast start-up time (10 seconds).
The RPTVs come in two series: LCZ (1080p) and LCX (720p). The target contrast ratio is 3000:1. These sets will be available in the April/May time frame. No price announced.
The LCD flat-panels are said to exhibit smoother motion and a wider viewing angle. The better 32" set employs the new 120 Hz refresh rate with image interpolation between frames. Backlight brightness is automatically controlled (lower in dark scenes) for a better dynamic contrast ratio.
The TC-32LX700 will be available in March, TC-32LX70 in April, and the TC-26LX70 also in April. No prices announced.
The 42" plasma prototype has 1920 x 1080 resolution, which is a very good thing. Panasonic declined to say when the set would be available for sale. They did say that "the technical challenges in securing brightness and stable discharge made it difficult to obtain 1080p resolution in 42-inch PDPs." But we knew that plasma technology was not conducive to high resolution.
"Panasonic has overcome these technical hurdles. By developing a new rib and phosphor materials, Panasonic succeeded in producing smaller ribs. In addition, by improving the aperture ratio, Panasonic succeeded in realizing a 42-inch 1080p HD Plasma with both the high density of two million pixels and the same high brightness as the current 42-inch Panasonic HD model, TH-42PX600."
Panasonic has had an easier time with larger sizes, and their new 50" and 58" full-spec HD plasma sets are going into production this summer. With these, they will have four full-spec HD plasma TVs.
- TH-50PZ700U - available this summer - no price yet
- TH-58PZ700U - available this summer - no price yet
- TH-65PX600U - available now - $10,000
- TH-103PZ600U - this 103" monster is available now for the tidy sum of $70,000