The Madness Continues: Part II- 2008 Mitsubishi & Panasonic
Mitsubishi LaserVue TV (center) Sharp LCD (left) Pioneer Plasma (right)
Mitsubishi revealed to a small gathering of industry press its 2008 model line which includes new LCD model series, new DLP rear projectors and the first production Laser TV.
LaserVue is the official name of MitsubishiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Laser TV. The demonstration revealed an image that was significantly improved compared to the prototype I viewed at the 2008 CES. It is now quite bright and the colors (especially the reds) are the most vivid of any display device I have seen . This was quite evident in a side-by-side demonstration against a 65″ Sharp LCD and a 60″ Pioneer Kuro plasma. Mitsubishi is keeping most of the specifics, such a specs, number of models, pricing and feature list under wraps till the end of June, however they let a few details slip out.
The LaserVue HDTVs will ship in the 3rd qtr. of this year. They consume only one half the power of LCD flat panel (for the same screen size), and the sets will be capable of delivering a 3D image (movies may arrive later this year)
Mitsubishi announced three series of LCD flat panels, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s keeping details of its middle series under wraps until late June. The model line up consists of seven models as follows
Diamond Series LT-46246 $3799
Diamond Series LT-52246 $4499
All 2008 Mitsubishi LCD HDTVs include: slimmer (under one inch wide) frames, 120 Hz refresh, low profile speakers and built-in Gallery Player software to display high definition paintings and photography from Gallery Players library at 99 cents per image. Carried over from its 2007 LCDs are: 10-bit panels, 6-color signal processors, x.v. color and Deep Color.
The Diamond series adds CableCARD with TV Guide On Screen Daily program guide, improved signal processor and a high gloss frame with Blue Light Accent. Screen sizes available are 40Ã¢â‚¬Â, 46Ã¢â‚¬Â and 52Ã¢â‚¬Â
There are seven DLP HDTV rear projectors in the Mitsubishi 2008 line. Improvements for 2008 include the latest Texas Instruments Dark Chip DLP chip, thinner frames, and an improved light engine with 18% greater brightness. Mitsubishi moves from a 6-color wheel to a 5-color wheel, while maintaining its 6 color signal processor. The rear projectors are available in 60Ã¢â‚¬Â, 65Ã¢â‚¬Â and 73Ã¢â‚¬Â sizes.
All models are equipped with an infra-red emitter jack for use with 3D glasses (not included) for upcoming 3D discs. All models are shipping this month.
Diamond WD-65835 $3399
Diamond WD-73835 $4699
All models include 1080p, x.v. color, Deep Color, Color 4D noise reduction. Diamond models add high gloss finish, Smooth 120Hz to Ã¢â‚¬Ëœoptimize fast actionÃ¢â‚¬Â and Dark Detailer Ã¢â‚¬Å“for higher contrastÃ¢â‚¬Â (according to the press release).
The 2008 DLP models improved brightness and contrast along with 3D readiness may justify the purchase if your viewing environment requires the added brightness. For controlled lighting you may want to consider a 2007 closeout.
As for the LCD models, Mitsubishi (like Samsung Sony and other vendors ) has mainly concentrated on styling and features for its 2008 models, (with the exceptions of all 120 Hz refresh across the line for improved motion resolution) and the Smooth 120 feature to reduce artifacts of film based sources.
You may want to consider one of the 120HZ 2007 closeout models for a better deal.
PanasonicÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 2008 line of plasmas represent a very significant picture improvement over its 2007 models. 2008 performance enhancements include: significantly improved blacks, higher contrast ratios, 100,000 hour lifetime (time to half brightness the industry method of measurement), improved color gamut, better anti-reflective filters, lower power requirements and a game mode for faster response.
The line starts with the 42Ã¢â‚¬Â (1024x768p resolution) and 50Ã¢â‚¬Â models (1365×768 resolution) called the TH-42PX80 and TH-50PX80. These boast a 15,000:1 contrast ratio and three HDMI inputs. A few weeks ago I had a chance to perform a side by side comparison of the 50Ã¢â‚¬Â Japanese model side-by-side with the 50Ã¢â‚¬Â Pioneer KURO. The back level was just a shade darker on the Pioneer, and this is the entry model with its lowest rated contrast ratio! Minimum Advertised Prices (MAP) are $1199 and $1699 respectively; available now.
The rest of the line is all Ã¢â‚¬Å“Full HDÃ¢â‚¬Â 1080p (1920 x1080) and have a rating of 900 lines motion resolution. The entry series is the PZ 80 (i.e. TH-42PZ80) and they are available now in the 42Ã¢â‚¬Â, 46Ã¢â‚¬Â and 50Ã¢â‚¬Â sizes (MAP $1599, $1999 and $2499 respectively) and is rated at 20,000:1 contrast (with a dynamic contrast rated at 1,000,000:1) and 4096 shades of gradation from black to full white.
The PZ85 series jumps to a 30,000:1 contrast ratio (and same million to one dynamic contrast). The 85 series adds hidden speakers and a VGA type analog PC input. The PZ85 series models are available now and are offered in the 42Ã¢â‚¬Â, 46Ã¢â‚¬Â, 50Ã¢â‚¬Â and 58Ã¢â‚¬Â sizes.
The PZ800 series (May/June) adds THX video certification, has four HDMI inputs (up from three for the lower models) single sheet glass front, 5120 shades of gradation and the big news, 48 HZ display for judder free viewing of native 24 fps sources (such as films) . I was unable to get a demo and look forward to testing this feature. Like the other models in this yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s line, it accepts 24fps signals via HDMI; however, the lower models only offer 3:2 pulldown which, (unlike the even 2:2 cadence of this model), produces judder (jerky instead of smooth motion) during pans. Prices are to be announced.
The top of the line PZ850 series will be available in June in the 46Ã¢â‚¬Â, 50Ã¢â‚¬Â, 58Ã¢â‚¬Â and 65Ã¢â‚¬Â ($TBA). These models add IPTV allowing access to specific internet content including YouTube and Picasa. In addition, there is a Pro Menu setting for profession ISF calibration in the user menu and AVCHD motion playback via the built-in SD card slot (all Panasonic plasmas have SD card slots for still photo viewing).
In addition, the 850 models have a wider color gamut, and include a Digital Cinema Color mode that claims 120% of the digital TV broadcast color space for more vivid images that allow for color reproduction similar to what you can see when at a digital movie theater that complies with the movie industryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Digital Cinema standards. Like the 800 series it has 48 Hz playback, 4 HDMI inputs + PC input, 5120 gradations but drops the THX certification.
The demonstrations of the 2008 plasmas were quite impressive with a side-by-side of top 2007 model versus 2008. The black levels was far deeper than the 2007 model and may be as deep as the 2007 Pioneer KURO. The verdict will have to wait a few weeks for a production sample comparison.
The HD Guru recommends to the purchase of the 2008 models over a closeout 2007s. The performance gains well justify the additional expense.
Panasonic expanded its LCD offerings with five new models in two series. All use PanasonicÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s own in plane switching panels that produce a contrast ratio of 1200:1 and Dynamic Contrast of 10,000:1. Features include SD memory card slot, Game mode, and three HDMI inputs.
The 85 series are 1365 x 768 models in 26Ã¢â‚¬Â and 32Ã¢â‚¬Â screen sizes and the 37Ã¢â‚¬Â model is 1080p.
The step up units are the 32Ã¢â‚¬Â TC-32LZ800 and 37Ã¢â‚¬Â TC-37LZ800. Features include PC input, 4 HDMI inputs and PanasonicÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Motion Flow Technology that sequentially fires the backlight to greatly improve motion resolution without the resorting to 120 HZ refresh rate.
With increased contrast ratio and improved motion resolution of the Motion Flow model) you may want to consider a 2008 model.
Copyright Ã‚Â©2008 Gary Merson/HD GuruÃ¢â€žÂ¢. All rights reserved. The content and photos within may not be distributed electronically or copied mechanically without specific written permission.