Mitsubishi unveiled its new 2006 line of HDTVs over last weekend to the press in Huntington Beach, CA. To show how focused Mitsubishi is, the company uses the moniker of "Get the Big Picture." Certainly, this is a company who has set its sights on 1080p display products only. The company has shed its peripheral products such as DVD players and DVHS recorders, and is staying on the sidelines of the "Optical Disc Format War" till next year. Focusing solely on display products, Mitsubishi's HDTV line-up will include nine 1080p DLP sets, two 720p 3LCD TVs, and four LCD HDTVs. Screen sizes range from 37-in. to 73-in. with the bulk of the line-up in 1080p Micro-Display models. Contrary to popular belief, Micro-Displays are not a dying breed according to Mitsubishi, but the company feels that they are the future of large-screen HDTVs. As of right now, Mitsubishi is out of the plasma business entirely as LCD takes up the under 50-in. models, and Micro-Display for those models over 50-in. All 1080p sets can accept native 1080p signals without any digital conversion.
A highlight of the Mitsubishi 2006 line show was their first viewing for the press of a prototype of a laser-based 1080p DLP rear projection Micro-Display, which was first reported in Digital TV DesignLine on February 20, 2006 in a story entitled Mitsubishi makes world's 1st laser-based rear projection TV. The technology behind Mitsubishi's laser HDTV utilizes separate red, green and blue semiconductor lasers in a proprietary implementation together with Texas Instrument's 1080p DLP HDTV chip. Mitsubishi is skipping over LED illumination for DLP HDTV sets, and going directly to laser. This year will see companies like Samsung, HP, and possibly Toshiba going over to LED illumination. Light emitting diodes offers some key benefits for Micro-Displays including a permanent source of light and the elimination of the color wheel entirely.
A few weeks ago, we ran a technical paper from Texas Instruments' on Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology and its impact on DLP television applications. While clearly TI feels that LED illumination provides more than a 40-percent increase in the color gamut, Mitsubishi, on the other hand, believes that their unique laser light source offers an expanded color depth and the widest color gamut possible from any display source, including LED-lighted displays. Of course, the big question for Mitsubishi is, "will it?" As the old saying goes, you have to stay tuned.
According to Mitsubishi, laser-based HDTV technology produces a color gamut far exceeding (1.8 times greater) that of normal LCD televisions. Mitsubishi's laser technology will take advantage of the latest extended color space standard for video applications, xvYCC, to produce the widest color gamut ever available in video displays. Mitsubishi laser HDTVs will also utilize the company’s second generation, exclusive color control processor to fine tune the extreme color reproduction of the laser light source to produce a vivid but natural high resolution image. The company also noted that Mitsubishi laser HDTV technology will not only deliver unsurpassed color reproduction, but it will also enable new cabinet designs that are truly unique and revolutionary. With zero-width bezels, tapered-thin and sculpted rear cabinets and lightweight, low-height designs, laser televisions will redefine the modern look for future large screen displays.
The downside to Mitsubishi's announcement last week is that its laser HDTVs won't be available till Christmas 2007. And, we all know that a lot can happen in 18 months. Next Fall, Toshiba and Canon will be hopefully be bringing SED HDTVs to market, and there will be several 1080p Plasma and LCD TVs within the marketplace at lower prices. Will laser illumination really matter? If so, it's time to move over, Mr. Bond. These are exciting times for Digital TV DesignLine. So, stay tuned.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.