updated 01:20 pm EDT, Thu September 4, 2008
Hitachi 1.5-inch plasma TV
Hitachi is unveiling a 1.5-inch thick 50-inch plasma display, which heads up the company's new UltraThin 1.5 family of products that also includes 1.5-inch thick LCD HDTVs, at the CEDIA Expo on Thursday. The display, which Hitachi is quick to point out is among the largest and thinnest of its kind, will headline Hitachi's release of plasma HDTVs in the A-, S-, V- and X-series, made up exclusively of 42- and 50-inch displays. While not quite 1.5 inches thick, the new plasma HDTVs will be available with manual swivel stands or remote-controlled powered swivel stands.
The A-series offers the 42-inch P42A202, 50-inch P50A202 and 50-inch P50A402, priced at $1,399, $1,599 and $1,599, respectively. All feature three HDMI 1.3 inputs and a new UltraBlack Panels boxed cell structure for deeper black reproduction and deeper colors than their predecessors. Hitachi also used its existing PictureMaster V video processor in the sets.
The S-series P50S602 replaces the video processor with a newer PictureMaster HD VI chip. A newly introduced feature is the company's Cinema48 software which works with 24p HDMI inputs to provide a movie-theater like experience by preserving the intended frame rate but smoothing out motion artifacts. This 50-inch set is priced at $2,199.
The 50-inch V-series P50V702 adds Reel60 processing technology that creates interpolated frames for 30 frames-per-second footage to provide smooth-moving video and adds a power swiveling stand. It also includes a TV Guide On Screen program that helps viewers choose their TV shows but otherwise shares the specs of the S-series plasma. It stickers for $2,499.
The top-of-the-line P50X902 includes all of the features of the P50V702, although it is not clear what more it offers for the added $700 price of entry, as it is priced at $3,199 by Hitachi.