Josh Oebel January 3rd, 2009
It would seem that Television manufacturers are reflecting the
New Year’s resolutions of many Americans this year. By that I mean the TV industry
appears to have joined the universal quest to "Get thin." Thin televisions are not
a new concept as Flat Panel TVs have been a staple in the video market for some
time. However, as the video display category continues to saturate with brands and
models and price erosion persists, key TV manufacturers are seeking ways to add
value to and differentiate their product.
Hitachi seemed to lead the effort for thinner TVs when they released their Ultra-Thin
series last year. They released several LCD models with up to 37 inch screen size
that were all less than 1.5 inches in depth. Sharp carried that torch into larger
screen sizes with the recent release of their Special Edition series which offers
52” and 65” LCD TVs that are less than 2.75 inches deep. In addition, several key
manufacturers showed prototype LCD TVs that were less than an inch thick at the
major trade shows this last year.
Other manufacturers are approaching the challenge from a different angle. Mitsubishi’s
current lineup of LCD TVs focuses on thinner bezels to maximize viewable screen
area while minimizing overall chassis dimensions. On their rear projection side,
Mitsubishi launched its new LaserVue which is a DLP based rear projection set that
is less than 10 inches deep. This is a remarkable achievement in the rear projection
category that is no doubt facilitated by their new laser-based light engine.
Sony has taken the aggressive approach by turning their sights to an emerging technology.
Earlier this year they released a limited quantity of an OLED (Organic Light Emitting
Diodes) based model that is only 0.12 inches in depth. With only 11 inches of screen
size, it is not a practical application, however it certainly gives a clear picture
of what the future may hold.