CES 2007: Pioneer disses LCD and SED, champions plasma

CES 2007, HDTV, Home cinema, TVs

A great deal of excitement is coming from the Pioneer camp on this sunny Las Vegas morning as the company just announced a breakthrough TV technology that is aimed at giving LCD, and upcoming SED technology, a real run for their money. The new technology comprises of a completely re-engineered display design that was accomplished by re-engineering plasma technology from the ground up.

Pioneer’s general manager of product planning for displays, Ken Shioda had this to say: “We are not simply making marginal improvements in certain aspects of the viewing experience, rather we are making a quantum leap in all areas that impact the viewer experience.” Bold words indeed, but what exactly does this new technology hope to offer? Plasma TVs that don’t basically require their own power station to run? That don’t blast heat like a smelting works? Or that can be sold dirt cheap? Err… no, but apparently it will offer a significant leap in picture quality that will help combat recent, rapid improvements in those other flat panel technologies that are threatening to blur the lines between Plasma and smaller screen technologies. Hit the turn to find out more.

Three key characteristics are set to re-envigour the good name of Plasma:

Black levels in the new display far exceed previous Pioneer plasmas, making dark scenes darker while maintaining clarity of detail. This is the result of reducing the minimum luminance level by 80 percent. The test equipment typically used to determine the variance between peak white and peak black does not have great enough range to measure Pioneer’s new display so a contrast ratio specification is not yet determined.

Rich colours in dark scenes are a second benefit of the lower luminance levels and deeper blacks. The new display reproduces colors with greater richness and accuracy even in dark scenes.

Performance in bright rooms is significantly improved with a newly engineered filter that minimises the effect of ambient light so the display is able to maintain deep black levels regardless of lighting conditions. Pioneer will demonstrate the display in both bright and dark lighting conditions to simulate a retail environment and the typical living room. In both cases, black levels remain deep and colours are intense.

Unfortunately we haven’t had a chance to do a side by side comparison to verify these claims, but as we hit the show floor on Monday, we’ll be sure to let you know our impressions. The new plasma displays were due to only hit shelves in time for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games but in all their excitement Pioneer have pushed the launch date forward and the US at least should see these new screen sometime during this summer. No word on a European release yet though.

Check out the rest of our CES coverage.

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