updated 04:35 pm EDT, Thu August 28, 2008
Panasonic next-gen plasmas
Panasonic on Thursday announced it will show off five prototype plasma display panels that are significantly thinner, more efficient and / or larger than current models at the IFA 2008 show in Berlin, which kicks off Friday. The prototypes will include a 42-inch display that is twice as efficient and therefore uses half the energy of Panasonic's existing panels of the same size that maintains the same brightness settings.
The rest of the new prototype units include a 50-inch display that is less than one inch thick and a pair of large displays, at 58 and 65 inches, that are one-inch thick. The world's largest 150-inch HD plasma display will also be on display.
All use the company's new energy technology, which involves newly developed phosphors, a fresh cell design and new circuit and drive technology. The larger 50-, 58- and 65-inch models also use wireless connections to help them weigh in at half the size of the current models and are also 25 percent thinner. The company's previous large plasma display, at 103 inches, is now superseded by the 150-inch version, which was expected since last year. It features a resolution of 4,096x2,160.
There was no information released about when or in which products the prototypes would be available, or what their pricing would be.
In addition to the plasma prototypes, Panasonic announced it will release two new Blu-ray recorders, though they will only be sold in France, at least initially. It will mark the first time the company's Blu-ray recorders will be available outside of Japan and Australia, and the reasons for singling out France include the country's widespread use of free-to-air HDTV channels. The DMP-BD35 and DMP-BD55 that will sport a higher-spec DTA converter will both support BD-Live feature that will allow users to download extra movie content from the Internet. The recorders will support the AVCHD video format used in Panasonic's HD camcorders, allowing users to back up their personal recordings to Blu-ray disc. Either will support the Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-HD MA audio codecs, including internal decoding of 7.1-channel audio. The DMP-BD55 will also use 7.1-channel analog audio out-puts. No pricing or release information has been announced for the recorders.
Panasonic ultra-efficient 42-inch plasma display
Panasonic 58-inch, 65-inch ultra-thin plasma display
Panasonic 150-inch plasma display
Panasonic DMP-BD35 Blu-ray recorder
Panasonic DMP-BD55 Blu-ray recorder