Josh Oebel January 3rd, 2009
It would seem that Television manufacturers are reflecting the New Year’s resolutions of many Americans this year. By that I mean the TV industry appears to have joined the universal quest to "Get thin." Thin televisions are not a new concept as Flat Panel TVs have been a staple in the video market for some time. However, as the video display category continues to saturate with brands and models and price erosion persists, key TV manufacturers are seeking ways to add value to and differentiate their product.
Hitachi seemed to lead the effort for thinner TVs when they released their Ultra-Thin series last year. They released several LCD models with up to 37 inch screen size that were all less than 1.5 inches in depth. Sharp carried that torch into larger screen sizes with the recent release of their Special Edition series which offers 52” and 65” LCD TVs that are less than 2.75 inches deep. In addition, several key manufacturers showed prototype LCD TVs that were less than an inch thick at the major trade shows this last year.
Other manufacturers are approaching the challenge from a different angle. Mitsubishi’s current lineup of LCD TVs focuses on thinner bezels to maximize viewable screen area while minimizing overall chassis dimensions. On their rear projection side, Mitsubishi launched its new LaserVue which is a DLP based rear projection set that is less than 10 inches deep. This is a remarkable achievement in the rear projection category that is no doubt facilitated by their new laser-based light engine. Sony has taken the aggressive approach by turning their sights to an emerging technology. Earlier this year they released a limited quantity of an OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) based model that is only 0.12 inches in depth. With only 11 inches of screen size, it is not a practical application, however it certainly gives a clear picture of what the future may hold.