The independent inside view on the AV world!
Laser-powered 3D TV and
ultra HD light up the future
OF ALL THE technology stories to come out of this
year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, few
were as interesting as the latest TV venture from
Mitsubishi. The company has dreamed up the world’s
ﬁrst laser television, an idea that sounds ridiculously
futuristic while being strangely retro at the same time.
The imaginatively-titled LaserTV might sound like the
stuff of sci-ﬁ fantasy (the sort of thing Captain Kirk
might have consulted to check for Klingon activity), but
this is reality. We are told lasers are the bee’s knees when
it comes to picture quality and the ﬁrst set hits the US
market later this year.
Mitsubishi reckons that LaserTV can display twice as
many colours as current HD TVs, which only display 40
per cent of the colour spectrum seen by the human eye.
But the uniquely space-age selling point is that
LaserTV can also deliver 3D pictures, bringing us ever
closer to what has for decades been merely a pipedream. Visitors ﬂock to Engineers at NHK’s Science and Technical Research
‘LaserTV technology creates a portal to an intensely Laboratory in Japan are working on a successor to the
Electronics Show in
real and vivid world, beyond ordinary ﬂat TV. It’s a true Las Vegas to see current high-deﬁnition broadcast system, which will
dimension experience,’ says Mitsubishi’s vice-president what the future has require a massive screen to view it properly.
of marketing, Frank DeMartin. in store Dubbed Super Hi-Vision (or Ultra High-Deﬁnition TV),
The technology made its debut at CES inside a wall- the new video format has a resolution of 7,680 x 4,320
mountable 65in set, which uses three lasers (red, green pixels and NHK engineers have said that you’ll need a
and blue) to project the image from the rear of the set screen of at least 60in to make the most of it. And to
onto the screen. But despite behaving just like a rear- prove the point, the broadcaster has built its own 500in
projection display, the LaserTV is being pitched as a screen to view it on.
completely new TV category to compete alongside You’ve still got plenty of time to save up for a suitable
plasma and LCD. TV. Super Hi-Vision isn’t expected to broadcast until
As exciting as this all sounds, it does make us wonder 2025 in Japan, which means it’ll probably reach the UK
whether we really need another TV technology. Since sometime in the next century.
consumers are only just getting used to plasma and LCD,
and have OLED and possibly SED on the horizon, they Playing catch-up
could soon be faced with too much choice. As well as making mammoth-sized TVs, Panasonic has
The other question raised is the Laser TV’s also been beavering away at its next generation of Blu-
commercial viability. With Sony recently washing its ray players, and has recently launched the ﬁrst BD Live-
hands of SXRD TVs, we’re not exactly ﬁlled with capable player in the US. The DMP-BD50 features an
optimism that a new rear-pro technology can survive in internet connection that allows users to download bonus
a market dominated by LCD and plasma, despite claims movie content for future Blu-ray discs.
that LaserTV will be competitive with similarly sized But despite the inevitable song and dance that will be
ﬂatpanel TVs. made over this product, it’s worth remembering that the
Mitsubishi may be better off reﬁning and developing manufacturer is merely adding features, which, sensibly,
existing display types, as per Panasonic, which upped the should have been included on the ﬁrst generation model.
ﬂatpanel ante at CES with yet another ‘world’s largest If only manufacturers didn’t adhere to this Proﬁle
plasma’. The prototype measures a whopping 150in – a nonsense that’s causing features to be drip-fed to
screen size equivalent to nine 50in plasmas – and boasts frustrated consumers over the space of a few years.
a resolution of 2,160 x 4,096, which is four times the Warner’s decision to drop HD DVD may have dealt a
resolution of a 1080p full HD TV. massive blow to the format’s chances of survival, but if it
The pace at which high-deﬁnition broadcasting is does go the way of Betamax at least it’ll go down with its
advancing suggests that Panasonic’s achievement will dignity intact, safe in the knowledge that it offered
one day have real signiﬁcance. everything consumers wanted right from the outset Z
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