updated 12:10 pm EST, Wed January 10, 2007
Hitachi Flat-Panels at CES
Hitachi used its presence at CES to announce sweeping changes to its LCD and plasma HDTV lineups. The Japanese electronics firm says its upcoming P50H401 (pictured) will be the first 50-inch plasma to reach below $2,500 by striking a balance between full HD and the 720p sets that often reach the price point. By using a 1280x1080 panel, the set can still manage sharper resolutions when asked to display 4:3 ratio images while still supporting widescreen 1080i and 720p images. A scaler chip for 1080p sources and three HDMI inputs will ensure the best possible picture, Hitachi says. The 50-inch display, which ships in February, will be accompanied by 42- and 55-inch models in the H401 line that ship in April and July respectively. Upgraded T501 models with improved anti-reflective screens and SD card readers for direct photo viewing are anticipated in similar sizes and release dates.
Also planned for this year are two mid-size LCDs under the Cineform name. The H201 and T301 lines will each be available in 32- and 37-inch models and will share the 1080p scaler and trio of HDMI inputs from the larger plasmas but will display in a native 720p resolution; the more advanced T301 adds a new 120Hz-capable LCD that doubles the frame rate to improve perceived response times during gaming or fast movie scenes. The 37-inch panels will be ready first in May, while the smaller 32-inch equivalents are being prepared for June.