February 15, 2007
| by Rebecca Day
The latest word in TV is 1080p, referring to the 1,080 vertical lines of resolution displayed in progressive format on a plasma, LCD, DLP or LCoS TV (CRT TVs display lines in interlaced format). Until recently, 720p and 1080i were the most advanced specs for vertical resolution and both were more than adequate for displaying all the video content available from broadcast TV and DVD. With the advent of Blu-ray and HD DVD, consumers for the first time have access to 1080p content, and TV makers are using the high-res format as a way to build value (and higher prices) into high-end TVs. A number of TV companies market 1080p as “Full HD.”
“Everyone can benefit from Full HD 1080p at larger screen sizes because it is about two times the resolution of 720p,” says Tony Favia, senior product manager at Sharp Electronics. “This means a more detailed picture, regardless of the programming you are watching. This is especially important for people who own advanced Blu-ray players or video game consoles that output in native 1080p resolution.”
Among the notable 1080p LCD TVs for 2007 are Sharp’s 108 incher, the largest flat-panel display to date. No price has been released for the 9-foot display that’s pegged for third quarter shipment. Elsewhere, Samsung unveiled three 1080p LCD TVs at CES in 40- ($2,999), 46- ($3,699) and 52-inch ($4,799) screen sizes. The TVs pack three HDMI inputs and an HDMI-CEC input. The latter is a remote control platform open to all manufacturers that allows a single remote to operate the functions of a Blu-ray player, home theater system and TV—regardless of the manufacturer. (Pioneer, for one, expects future products to include HDMI CEC.)
Among plasma suppliers, Pioneer’s single 1080p plasma, the Elite PRO-FHD1, is a 50-incher that lists for $8,000. LG introduced 50- and 60-inch 1080p models and slashed the price of its 71-inch plasma monitor by 80 percent to $14,999.
Overall, HDTV prices will continue their consumer-friendly slide in 2007. Who would have imagined a 60-inch plasma TV for under $3,000 just a few years ago? Maybe Vizio did. Its $2,999 1366 x 768-pixel VM60P turned heads at the 2007 CES. Even 1080p TVs will slug it out at retail. The Westinghouse TX-47F430S 47-inch 1080p LCD TV is due in stores in April for $2,499.
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