Another Kind of Flat
Longtime LCD (liquid-crystal display) advocate Sharp has been promoting its Aquos flat-panel LCD TVs in the 15-inch size range for the past couple of years, and it now looks like more companies are getting on that train. In addition to Sharp, which had a tower of flat TVs on display that recalled video art installations, Panasonic, Samsung, Philips, and Zenith all showed LCD sets. Although they're mainly targeted at people who want a small, slick-looking TV for the kitchen or office, each manufacturer also seems to be testing the size limits of LCD.
The prize for the biggest LCD panel goes to Samsung, which showed a prototype 40-inch widescreen model ($10,000). Sharp displayed an attention-grabbing 30-inch widescreen panel, the LC-HV2U (price to be determined), while Zenith had on hand its L30W26 ($6,000), another widescreen 30-incher. With pixel counts of 1,280 x 720, these panels are compatible with high-def sources and can also do double-duty as computer monitors.
Not So Flat
We also saw other, less Jetson-like HDTV set options, including DLP (Digital Light Processing) and LCD rear projectors as well as plenty of models using tried-and-true CRT (cathode-ray tube) technology. And progress appears to have been made in the Widescreen Wars. In every exhibit we passed through, the squarish 4:3 aspect ratio models had dwindled dramatically compared with last year's show, and a number of companies have dropped the old-standard shape altogether in favor of new-standard widescreen sets.
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