Las Vegas: High definition televisions are slimming down while their pictures and capabilities are beefing up.
Innovations at the world’s largest consumer electronics show in Las Vegas underscore the trend, with Sony wowing visitors with a 3-mm (.12-inch) thick Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) television.
While liquid crystal display (LCD) televisions use backlights, OLED’s picture-creating pixels come from screens that can be made paper thin and bendable while using less power.
OLED televisions hit store shelves in Japan in December and were launched in the US market this week at a price of $2,500. The price-conscious visitors were told that the cost of the televisions will drop “eventually.” Samsung revealed at the conference a pair of OLED telvision prototypes it envisions having to market in a couple of years.
Pioneer showed off a “concept model” 50-inch (127-centimeter) LCD high-definition television just 9 mm deep, saying it intended to have it ready for consumers within three years.
Hitachi’s 1.5-inch (3.8-cm) thick LCD model is already on the market. Philips and Texas Instruments presented flat televisions with 3-D images. Texas Instruments eye glasses link wirelessly to televisions and alter slightly the images reaching each eye.
The principle behind seeing 3-D images is that each of a person’s eyes sees a different perspective and the brain combines the images to create a sense of depth. “The glasses sync to the TV, and then your brain kicks in and sees 3-D,” Ken Bell of Texas Instruments told AFP while demonstrating the television sets.
Texas Instruments uses the same technology in a “dual view” television that lets video game players compete head-to-head in racing or shooter games, but only see their character on the screen.
“Each player gets the full screen and no more screen cheating,” Bell said, referring to being able to take premature peeks at what opponents are doing.
“It’s pretty neat.” Philips’s 3-D televisions don’t require special glasses. The sets split image signals so different pictures hit different eyes. “It can see a little blurry at first, but your eyes need to adjust to it,” Bjorn Teuwsen of Philips said as he and others gazed at a model on the CES show floor.
Early interest in buying the Philips 3-D sets has come from casinos, taverns, shopping centers and other businesses due to their hefty price tags, according to Teuwsen.
The smallest model, 20-inches (50 cm) diagonally, is priced $3,670. Among the dizzying selection of slim flat screen televisions are many that boast online connections, bypassing computers when it comes to watching Internet streamed television shows, films or video clips.
A Toshiba television incorporates online social networking by letting people watching a television show link online with others viewing the broadcast. Friends can exchange instant messages on their screens during the shows.