Statesman.com: Just when you thought you had the world of big-screen LCD and plasma TVs figured out, here comes something new: laser TV.
Laser TV is a form of rear-projection television that uses a mixture of red, blue and green lasers instead of traditional mercury lamps as a light source. The purity of laser light allows for images with far more color.
That is the top selling point for proponents of the long-awaited technology, who note that current high-definition LCD and plasma televisions display only about 40 percent of the color that the human eye can see. Laser TVs promise to show twice as much, resulting in richer images.
The first laser TVs from Mitsubishi’s electronics division are expected to go on sale this year.
“Laser TV technology creates a portal to an intensely real and vivid world, beyond ordinary flat TV,” said Frank DeMartin, Mitsubishi’s marketing vice president. He spoke in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where the company unveiled a 65-inch laser set.
Mitsubishi has been secretive about its laser sets, revealing few details other than that they will use less power than other TV technologies and should go on sale in 2008.
The sets will likely hit stores before the holiday shopping season, said Matthew Brennesholtz, an Insight Media analyst and projection technology expert.
Rear-projection sets typically have screens of 50 inches or more and are cheaper than comparable LCDs and plasmas.
Many hurdles await new rear-projection technologies in a market dominated by increasingly bigger and cheaper LCD and plasma sets.
Against that onslaught, the rear-projection market has been fading fast, said Paul Gagnon, director of North American TV research for DisplaySearch.
In 2006, rear-projection TVs accounted for more than 56 percent of shipments for 50-inch to 54-inch sets, according to DisplaySearch. That plummeted to about 19 percent last year and is expected to reach 4 percent in 2008.
However, rear-projection sets still rule among the biggest sizes.
They are expected to account for 77 percent of sets 55 inches and larger shipped this year, Gagnon said.