Wednesday, 20 November 2002
When plasma TVs first appeared on the market five years ago, they were anything but affordable to the mainstream AV consumer at $20,000 and higher. But as plasmas popularity increased and companies competed to build a more affordable plasma TV, the prices have been dropping exponentially. Most 42 inch plasmas are priced between $4,500 - $8,000 in late 2002.
Zenith has introduced a new, higher-brightness, high-contrast 60-inch HDTV display at a breakthrough price, the first 60-inch PDP with a suggested price under $15,000. Announced earlier this year at a suggested price of $20,000, the 60-inch PDP model P60W26 is now available at a suggested price of $14,999.
Panasonic introduced their new PT-50PD3 HDTV plasma TV today which boasts the claim of having the highest contrast of any plasma to date at 3000:1. Contrast is a key issue in flat panel designs with one of the biggest knocks on the super-slender monitors being their lack of black levels as compared to traditional CRT TVs. The PT-50PD3 is HDTV capable for both 720p and 1080I sources and is priced at $15,995.
There were plasmas a-plenty on display at CEDIA, and the big news was how big and how resolute the newest monitors are.
Another point of note was the use of Faroudja NR Series native rate scalers to upconvert traditional 480I NTSC video to the near-HDTV quality, native rate of the plasma TVs. Custom installers were actually heard saying that they don’t sell plasmas without scalers anymore.
The effect, as shown by Faroudja on four Pioneer 50 inch plasmas, was spectacular.