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The new 50-inch PDP5080XD
Plasma displays take another revision for the high-end

This week high definition TVs based on plasma technology receive a big boost in quality and performance thanks to newly developed technology by Pioneer. One of the primary concerns these days with flat panel TVs -- and other displays for that matter -- is the ability to produce rich, deep and dark blacks. LCDs have always had a problem with blacks as their backlights are on all the time as long as the display is turned on.

Since the battle between LCDs and plasmas started, plasma screens always held an edge over LCDs because each pixel on a plasma screen is self emitting, generating its own light. Despite this, many plasma screens still produce black levels that are off due to low grade electronics and other factors. Pioneer is introducing what it calls the eighth generation plasma TV, giving audiences blacks that are 80% darker than anything currently available.

Using what Pioneer calls "deep encased cell structure, crystal emissive layer and first surface color filter," its new screens boast a contrast ratio of 20,000:1.

According to Pioneer, "with significantly deeper black levels (80% deeper than before), which ultimately lead to richer colours and sharper details, the new screens are unrivalled in video and audio performance."

Pioneer will be featuring the new ultra black technology in a series of TVs it calls "Project KURO" -- kuro meaning "black" in Japanese. The lineup will include 42, 50 and 60-inch screen sizes supporting full 1080p resolutions. As of right now, no prices have been revealed and Pioneer only indicates that the new units are "coming soon."

LCD panels will soon receive a major change themselves in the form of LED backlighting. Apple announced earlier last week that all of its LCD screens will be based on LED backlight panels by the end of 2007.

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Smaller plasma pixels
By GoatMonkey on 5/9/2007 8:24:36 AM , Rating: 2
It seems like it was not too long ago that companies were saying it would be impossible to make a 1080p plasma screen smaller than 60" due to the physical size of the hardware used to make each pixel. This article seems to indicate a 42" 1080p plasma. I wonder if even smaller screen sizes will be possible soon.

RE: Smaller plasma pixels
By heffeque on 5/9/2007 8:43:35 AM , Rating: 1
What do you want 1080p on a smaller screen for? Or do you mean the plasma technology on smaller screens so as not to get LCD?

RE: Smaller plasma pixels
By therealnickdanger on 5/9/2007 8:58:49 AM , Rating: 4
My laptop had a 17" screen with 1920x1200 native res - slightly higher than 1080p and every day I spent on it was a pleasure! Some people argue that higher resolutions are only good for big screens. "Bah!", I say. I'll take ultra-resolution every time I can get it!

RE: Smaller plasma pixels
By Mitch101 on 5/9/2007 9:30:17 AM , Rating: 2
Are they the same people who buy a 32" TV and sit 20 feet from it and think because they hooked up their 2 channel stereo they have a home theater? No what you have just created was the same experience I could get from when I was in High School and they would wheel in that cart with the TV on it. Hardly something you would see in a theater.

When I got my 65" hdtv everyone said it was too big my wife even wanted us to trade it for the 53". By THX specifications I should have had a 108"-123" screen from the shortest to longest distance where seating is based on THX. I found myself defending the choice and my only comment was to remind them that I am creating a home THEATER experience not a TV experience you have been to a movie theater right? After about a month the wife hates watching TV or movies on anything smaller.

Im happy for you on that 17" LCD with better than 1080P resolution on it as Im sure you close enough to enjoy such clarity.

RE: Smaller plasma pixels
By Sahrin on 5/9/2007 11:19:43 AM , Rating: 2
The only way to get a home theater experience is with a digital projector and 20.x surround sound. Otherwise, you are talking about a fundamentally different display/audio system. It's like comparing a wax phonograph to a lossless audio codec. Backlit TV is fundamentally different than light projection.

RE: Smaller plasma pixels
By NainoKami on 5/9/2007 1:06:53 PM , Rating: 2
Why would you need 20.x sound chanels? I've got 5.2 and I've got better sound placement than most cinemas, and my system measures flat to 15Hz. Unless you want to impress the Bar Buddies, or have a HUGE room, 5.x or 7.x is fine. There aren't even any current methods for having more than 8 channels of audio in movies so far. Not even in cinemas. And they usually only use 5.1 (of course with more than one sub), or in some cases 7.1, but not conventional 7.1 but rather the SDDS 8 Channel with 5 front channels, 2 back, and one sub.

And with regards to NEEDING a projection system, I disagree. I have a 95" projection system, which is just right for my taste, but I would love to replace it with a similar sized plasma because of the better black levels. On projection systems, just a tiny bit of light pollution, be it ambient or reflected off the walls and back to the screen, kills contrast. Plasma can however produce lovely blacks, even with a modest amount of ambient light.

RE: Smaller plasma pixels
By GaryJohnson on 5/9/2007 12:49:42 PM , Rating: 2
Too bad they don't make 65" laptops.

RE: Smaller plasma pixels
By GoatMonkey on 5/9/2007 9:45:02 AM , Rating: 2
I don't want a smaller screen. I'd like a 200" in my house if I had a choice. I'm just saying that it's nice that it is now possible. More competition with LCDs at all levels is good.

RE: Smaller plasma pixels
By VIAN on 5/9/2007 12:52:38 PM , Rating: 2
I actually don't like plasma displays because they have such large pixels. They bother the crap out of me considering I only like to sit a few feet away from the TV. The flickering annoys me to, but anyway...

To me, the smaller the pixel pitch, the better the image quality.

RE: Smaller plasma pixels
By masher2 on 5/9/2007 1:06:20 PM , Rating: 2
> "To me, the smaller the pixel pitch, the better the image quality. "

Pixel pitch is a function of the ratio between native resolution vs. panel size; it's not dependent on image technology. A 50" 1080p panel will have the same pixel pitch, regardless of whether its LCD, Plasma, or anything else.

You may be referring to interpixel spacing, which refers to the portion of the panel not occupied by pixels (the area between them).

RE: Smaller plasma pixels
By VIAN on 5/9/2007 1:45:01 PM , Rating: 2
In any size panel, the smaller the pixel pitch, the better the image quality, which means really high resolutions. But I didn't want to say high resolution because a really big screen can have a really high resolution, but also a high pixel pitch.

Interpixel Spacing. Possibly yes, this might actually be the problem. I just assumed that having smaller pixels would have smaller spacings. The smallest Plasma pixel I've seen is about .6mm in comparison with LCDs which is about .255mm.

RE: Smaller plasma pixels
By masher2 on 5/9/2007 8:56:20 AM , Rating: 3
> "companies were saying it would be impossible to make a 1080p plasma screen smaller than 60"...

If there's no law of physics that forbids something, technology will eventually find a way to build it. I'm sure 1080p plasmas even smaller will soon find their way to market.

RE: Smaller plasma pixels
By therealnickdanger on 5/9/2007 8:59:53 AM , Rating: 2
Pioneer (Elite) has had their 50" for a while now, I think...

RE: Smaller plasma pixels
By GoatMonkey on 5/9/2007 9:42:06 AM , Rating: 2
This is the kind of thing I'm talking about...

It was actually 50" not 60" like I was saying, but close enough.

I'm aware that there is no law of physics preventing them from building it, I'm just saying, this is great you can see progress being made in real world solutions.

RE: Smaller plasma pixels
By masher2 on 5/9/2007 9:43:44 AM , Rating: 1
Sorry, I meant "even smaller than 42 inches", the size of the smallest of these newly announced screens.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007
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