As I wrote a few weeks ago, 'tis the season for line shows and product introductions. At the 2006 Home Entertainment Show last weekend, Sony and HP unveiled its new HDTV displays for 2006. Other than these two TV companies, virtually all of the other products that were shown were higher-end audio and loudspeaker products. This was also a smaller show than in years past. Other companies will be announcing new products in the coming weeks including Pioneer, TiVo, Microsoft, Philips, Bose, Dolby, and Samsung among others.
I've already written up the Sony line offerings elsewhere, so there's no reason to talk about them again per se. Although, it should be noted that Sony like most other TV companies are being very bullish about 1080p this year, and rightly so. First and foremost, HP is only offering twin 720p 52-in. (black or silver) MicroDisplays in favor of 1080p product for MicroDisplays. Even as primarily a computer company entering the TV market, they rightly see the importance of 1080p. Their innovative 1080p line of 58-in. and 65-in. MicroDisplays with their easy connector interface on the front panel, which did not ship till late last Fall, will be carried over for 2006. Except for Samsung, HP will be the only TV manufacturer offering HD LED DLP TVs in 2006. HP's first offering -- model ID5286n -- uses a Photonic Lattice technology by PhlatLight. This solid-state light source boosts color saturation and eliminated any potential of color break-up. Through the use of light emitting diodes or LEDs, the color wheel and lamp are completely eliminated. While the prototype was a little dim at only 450 nits, the final product is hoped to be much brighter. If TI and the companies that produce DLP MicroDisplays continue to offer innovative displays, it might push off the onslaught of LCD TVs.
Of course, HP added three LCD HDTVs to its burgeoning line of display products including one 32-in. model and two 37-in. models. While all three models offer screen resolutions of 1366x768, it's HP SLC3760N that warrants noting. This MediaSmart HD LCD TV is a true convergence model as it marries functions from your PC into your HDTV either wired or wirelessly. While having the capability to view photos or listen to your favorite music files on your TV, you can also surf the web. With a contrast ratio of 6000:1 and a response time of 6 ms, images were bright without any lagging in fast moving scenes.
LCT TVs continue to dominate the news. Simply look over the News stories this week including a couple from iSupply regarding LCD panels. LCDs are unstoppable as consumer desire continues to rise. At the Sharp Roundtable this week, the company announced that all TVs 37-in. and above would now be 1080p. With work starting on its new Gen8 plant in Japan, Sharp is now more than ever committed to LCD TVs. They have revised their forecasts for2006 over CEA to predict that there will be close to 12 million units sold this year. Sharp cannot keep up with demand, and is now also buying panels (built to their specifications and using their IP) from a leading Taiwanese LCD panel fabricator.
With falling prices of LCD displays, they will soon be on price parity with plasma TVs in the 42-in. screen size. LCD TV manufacturers are setting their sights are larger-screen sizes in hopes of luring away potential plasma and MicroDisplays TV buyers entirely. Will they? Only time will tell. With the consumer's desire for flat-panels and 1080p products, they are agnostic to technology. They can't differentiate between plasma and LCD (because they look the same to the consumer), which will easily allow LCD to overtake plasma in sales and perceived value in relation to price. Let’s face it, while there's a 42-in. 1080i plasma this year and a couple of 50-in. 1080p plasma TVs this year at elevated prices, 1080p LCD TVs are here right now and it looks to dominate all display technologies now and in the future.