Digital Displays Build Momentum
* Concerns about upscaling? Persistent talk during the show centered on consumer dissatisfaction with 480i performance on HD-resolution TVs, including some anecdotes of returns due to this issue. A key question this year will be whether manufacturers will upgrade their sets' video processing and upscaling, or whether this issue's importance will diminish as more HD-resolution programming emerges. A more fanciful question: could outboard video processing units become a mainstream product category as we go forward, as consumers seek to achieve a more consistent look across the various resolutions?
* Plasma remains strong. While LCD continued to gain momentum at the show, plasma isn't going anywhere but up, either. Panasonic and Pioneer both expressed strong commitment for plasma. While Pioneer is now exclusively a high-end plasma vendor, Panasonic still carries some LCD flat panel models as well as microdisplay rear-projection sets. Sony showed an array of plasma and LCD flat panels, as well as LCD and SXRD rear-projection. LG and Samsung tried to outdo each other with extra-large, enormously expensive plasma panels on display, to the great delight of the horse-race afficionadoes.
* Plasma vs. LCD vs… SED? Toshiba, with its partner Canon, showed select press a 36-inch, 720p implementation of their SED (Surface conduction Electron-emitter Display) flat panel technology. Its proponents also tout what they call its superior reproduction of blacks, more natural colors and fast response. Through their joint venture, SED Inc.,Canon and Toshiba plan to bring limited quantities of 50-inch 1080p panels in Q1 2006. Volume production is slated for 2007.