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Panasonic Presents its Case for Plasma

November 15, 2009 By Nancy Klosek
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Panasonic has a proposal for the 5.3 million consumers who bought big-screen rear-projection TVs between 2001 and 2003 and are now faced with the issue of what technology to consider when replacing those sets: big-screen plasma.
 
The company conducted technical briefings last week on the East and West Coasts to make the case for why its 58- and 65-inch VIERA plasma sets should be those big-screen consumers’ choice over large-screen LED-backlit LCD TVs.

Isao Kawahara, chief plasma engineer for the AVC Networks Co. of Panasonic Corp. Japan, pointed out what Panasonic views as the chief technological advantages in its plasma technology in the areas of color reproduction, motion rendition, black-image rendering, contrast and brightness.

The viewing distance “sweet spot” for watching a large-screen flat-panel TV at an optimal 45-to-48-degree angle from the center of the screen is about twice the height of the screen (4.7 feet for a 58-inch screen and 5.3 feet for a 65-inch screen), said Kawahara, adding that Panasonic plasma screens allow true color reproduction even for viewers sitting to the screen’s sides. 

Kawahara also said that edge-lit LED screens are more likely to have brightness differences between the center and edge images, whereas Panasonic’s plasma screens are self-illuminating for greater brightness regularity across the entire screen.  He added that edge-lit LED LCD TVs can also lose contrast at their edges depending upon the viewer’s angle; greater uniformity has been achieved in Panasonic sets, due to pixel-by-pixel control, versus LED LCDs’ local dimming technology, which controls brightness block by block, he added.

Bill Schindler, a Panasonic consultant, cited moving-image-rendering improvements in this year’s sets as a plus for plasma – particularly for satisfying the image-refresh-rate demands of gamers. 

He also said that Panasonic is committed to a strong dealer training program for plasma, adding that all the TVs are endowed with a retail aid that helps dealers show them off to best effect on the sales floor: an out-of-the-box adjustment option that, when the TV is plugged in and turned on, asks whether it is being set up in a store or in a home. If “store” is selected, the picture parameters are automatically adjusted to more vivid levels.

Schindler also spoke of energy consumption, saying that the wattage gap between plasma and LCD was not as wide as it once was – and that all Panasonic plasma sets are Energy Star 3.0-compliant, using 40 percent less energy than 2007 models. “Panasonic’s 42-inch in the ‘home’ mode runs at about 142 watts – the equivalent of a 100w and a 40w light bulb,” he said, with a 1080p screen running at about 173 watts.  
 

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