Signs from the East

“Within three weeks we were able to welcome many new members,” said Makoto Morise, spokesperson for BDA, who also reported that there are now 59 companies counting themselves as members of the association.

The most significant of these new members, 20th Century Fox, is one of Hollywood’s biggest studios. Its participation gives BDA important input from the content industry, which has been wary of high-definition recording due to copyright concerns.

But Fox’s participation shouldn’t be confused with full support of the Blu-ray. “We’re not ready at this time to commit any of our content to this format,” said Michael O’Neill, special consultant to 20th Century Fox. He said that Fox wants to gain first-hand knowledge of the impending technology and have a voice in how a format is developed; but that is no guarantee of acceptance. O’Neill mentioned that Fox also has a partnership with the HD-DVD camp for the same reasons.

New Flat-panel Technology: CRT

Toshiba and Canon jointly unveiled “flat-panel CRT,” a new contender in the flat-panel arena. Officially known as SED, an acronym that stands for surface-conduction electron-emitter display, the technology employs tiny light-emitting diodes that are set between glass panels. SED claims a contrast ratio of 8600:1, 300cd/m2 brightness and one-third the power consumption of a comparable plasma display. Additionally, it claims to better handle fast-moving images graphics and color accuracy.

Toshiba displayed its 36-inch working prototype at Canon’s booth (Canon has a technology patent), but the final product will be a Toshiba. Keiichiro Mori, chief specialist, SED project team, Toshiba, said that production, which is taking place in Japan, will enable the company to create larger sizes, including 50 inches and above. Exact sizes and price marks were not clear at press time; the company said is not planning to ship any models until the first half of 2006. However, Mori says, “We plan to be competitive (in price) with PDP and LCD.”

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