With consumer demand for flat-panel television soaring off the charts, manufacturers of Plasma HDTVs are readying new lineups that promise stunning advances in plasma TV technology. New models coming from Plasma Display Coalition members Hitachi, LG Electronics, Panasonic and Pioneer will be thinner, brighter, and more energy efficient than ever before, in a year when the Consumer Electronics Association expects digital TV sales to top 29 million units.
Significant advances in Plasma TV technology are now reaching consumers with plasma HDTVs engineered to maximize efficiency and deliver exceptional performance – with screens designed for decades of enjoyment.
"Since the very first Plasma displays were sold, the industry has made remarkable advances," said Jim Palumbo, president of the Plasma Display Coalition. "Luminance, or brightness, is three times better. Contrast ratio, which delivers deeper blacks and richer colors, is some 18 times better. A new Plasma HDTV is commonly rated to last more than 25 years in typical home TV use. Overall power consumption has been cut by nearly 30 percent -- and that's just through 2007. Even more improvements are coming from our members later in 2008."
Analysts point to a continuing rise in Plasma HDTV sales as component costs fall and production efficiency improves. The industry's Plasma module production grew more than 20 percent in 2007, as consumer preferences shifted to even larger screen sizes and more advanced displays. The "sweet spot" for Plasma TV in 2008 is expected to be 50-inch widescreen HTDV models that offer 1080 progressive display capability. For example, Quixel Research notes that Plasma TV sales hit an all-time quarterly high during the fourth quarter of 2007, with unit sales increasing 36 percent over the third quarter.
Plasma TV manufacturers will roll out a variety of new technologies to maintain this momentum in 2008, with a focus on ultra-thin panels that boost brightness, deepen contrast, and offer more accurate color reproduction than other display technologies. At the annual Consumer Electronics Show, members of the Plasma Display Coalition showcased these coming innovations in Plasma TV:
Hitachi Previews Ultra Thin Plasma
Hitachi is shaving more than one third of the thickness of today's comparable 50-inch plasma displays with a new Ultrathin Plasma that is a mere 1.5 inches in depth. Hitachi plans to commercialize Ultrathin Plasma products in 2009. Exceptional advancements are also being made to increase lumens per watt, meaning brighter panels and lower overall energy use. Hitachi is designing Plasma panels with electronics that utilize new electrodes, phosphor design, and gas mixture to maximize brightness and minimize energy use.
LG Introduces Intuitive Styling, Long-Life, Invisible Speaker System
LG Electronics will introduce eight new Plasma HDTVs in 2008, including four with 1080p "Full HD" capability and all with extended lifespan 100,000-hour panel technology. LG's 2008 models not only feature improved performance through advancements in brightness and contrast, but also offer the user various options to customize the viewing experience. The PG60 series carries THX Display certification, delivering exceptional image quality and providing a more immersive viewing experience. All models include pre-set AV modes to optimize picture and audio settings based on cinema, game or sports programming. LG is also introducing a unique invisible speaker system, custom tuned by Mr. Mark Levinson, that incorporates speaker actuators around the perimeter of the bezel for a clean, sophisticated design.
Panasonic VIERA Plasma Features Easy HD Networking, Prototype Halves Energy Use
Upstaging its own 103-inch Plasma product, Panasonic showed an incredible 150-inch Plasma display at CES 2008 that filled a wall more than 12 feet long and eight feet tall. Panasonic VIERA TVs will feature VIERA Link intelligent one-remote control of the HD components in your home theater system. Even thinner and more energy-efficient Plasma displays are also on Panasonic's drawing board, with the company showing a 50-inch Plasma TV that is less than one inch thick and a 42-inch panel with double-efficiency technology to provide outstanding brightness with half the power consumption. Panasonic is also the first Plasma manufacturer to completely eliminate lead from its Plasma panels and to rate panel life at more than 100,000 hours to half brightness – meaning more than 42 years of viewing at 6.5 hours per day.
Pioneer Shows Thinnest Plasma Yet, and Extreme Contrast KURO Concept
As part of the "Project KURO" advanced Plasma HDTV development effort to deliver the ultimate home theater experience, Pioneer stunned attendees at the Consumer Electronics Show with the thinnest Plasma TV yet shown to the public, a 50-inch Plasma panel only nine millimeters thin. The advanced concept shows what is possible in Plasma's future, as the remarkable display technology evolves. Also unveiled from Pioneer was the industry's first "extreme contrast" concept Plasma that is absolute black with no measurable light emitting from the television. High contrast ratio is desirable to recreate ideal picture quality, with the truer the black the more accurate the color. These future Project KURO concepts demonstrate Pioneer's passion to bring to market the best home theater technology.