Selecting an HDTV to work with iTV—Things Just Got Crazier

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Panasonic believes that their plasma display technology is so superior to LCD that theyive started to heavily promote plasma even to the point of attacking their own LCD displays. A story in the New York Times published on Monday described how Panasonic is repositioning and promoting their plasma displays with newspaper ads citing the six facts buyers need to know before deciding between the two. How this will affect Macintosh users, very familiar with LCD displays on their Macs, remains to be seen, as they start to think about what technology route to take with Appleis "iTV" in 2007.

Falling HDTV prices have squeezed profit margins. However, the heavy use of LCD displays in modern computers has driven volume up and their price down faster than plasma displays which are primarily used for HDTV. As a result, the market share of LCD HDTVs, accordng to the NPD Group, has risen from 49 percent while plasma commands only 10 percent.

However, plasma TVs are often better suited for HDTV usage. They have deeper black levels, better contrast, and are better suited for fast motion video and rooms with bright lighting according to Bob Greenberg, Panasonic?s vice president for brand marketing.

All these behind the scenes cost and technology issues are perplexing customers who think that video looks just fine on their LCD computer monitors. But when it comes time to buy an HDTV, other issues come into play and a serious amount of homework is required.

One thing the article did not point out is that plasma TVs with a native 1080 x 1920 resolution remain outside the budget of most consumers. Instead, inexpensive plasma TVs are typically 720 x 1280, and that requires scaling some video inputs.

The issues are complex, and the watch word is caveat emptor as many Apple customers start to think about transmitting Internet TV from their Macs to a next generation living room system.

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