CEATEC (Combined Exhibition of Advanced TECnologies) took place last week in Chiba, Japan. There were a number of new products and technologies shown, providing a glimpse of what may appear in the US market in 2009. Here are the highlights.

Hitachi showed a prototype of its future 32” LCD flat panel. (pictured). Its modern styling was highlighted by the panel’s 19 mm depth, making it the thinnest LCD panel ever shown. The 32” image it produced was very bright even off axis. A Hitachi executive said a similar product would not appear till at least the 2009 model year.

Hitachi also introduced a short throw front projector. (pictured) The CP-A100 is a three chip LCD microdisplay with 1024 x 768 resolution. The throw distance is just 16” for a 100” diagonal screen.

Sony introduced its 11” OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) flat panel television to the Japanese market. (pictured) The XEL-1 ($1700 US) is a mere 3mm thick with resolution of 960 x 450, It measures 287 × 140 × 253mm, a rated contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 and a rated life of 30,000 hours.

Viewing the set at CEATEC revealed a very high contrast image. Sony claims high motion resolution, however, based my viewing of Sony’s demo material on the XEL-1, the motion resolution was quite poor. One scene showed a yellow taxicab. When it was still, the writing on the cab’s door was very sharp, but once the taxi started moving, the image blurred considerably, to the point where the writing was totally illegible.

Dolby Labs previewed its recently named Dolby Vision and Dolby Contrast local dimming LED technology. By incorporating white light emitting diodes for backlighting an LCD flat panel with Dolby’s drive technologies, the images produced by the demo model had very black blacks and very bright whites (pictured with the local dimming LED backlight shown on the set on the left). A Dolby representative said LCD flat panels using Dolby’s intellectual property would begin to appear in the next few months.

Toshiba had lovely HD DVD models (one pictured) and new HD DVD recorders (for the Japan market) including the HD RD-X7 (pictured).

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