Thursday, August 30, 2012

IFA 2012

IFA, which is happening in Berlin this week, is the European equivalent of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in the United States.

Where the cool stuff gets unveiled, in other words.

This year, the cool stuff seems to be absolutely enormous televisions at ultra-high resolutions.
Sony's 84-inch 4K Bravia KD-84X9005
LG's 84-inch UD 3D TV makes its formal IFA debut
Toshiba 84-inch 4K Quad Full HD TV hands-on
Sharp launches 'world's largest' 90-inch LED AQUOS TV

Those links are all from Engadget, my favorite site for keeping up with shows like this. The last link though, is from June, as I can't seem to find any IFA coverage of the new Sharp set (and strangely, that 90" screen only displays at 1080P resolution, which seems quite miserly compared to the 4K sets being debuted).

Also, in addition to these behemoths, don't forget how quickly companies are trying to expand into OLED. Panasonic and Sony have announced a joint partnership, LG has a 55" model shipping this year (allegedly), and Samsung is also shipping a 55" this year.

None of these sets are cheap, obviously--in fact, most are heinously expensive--but everything is expensive when it's first introduced. A 42" 480P plasma had a list price of $12,000 in 2001 ($7,500 via the Internet). Today, you can get a 42" 1080P plasma for under $600.

Five years ago, I bought the Panasonic 42" TH-42PH9UK for $2,100. Somehow, I was able to get the settings dialed in almost perfectly-- to my eyes, at least--and the picture was absolutely spectacular. Best purchase ever.

Last year, for my 50th (egads) birthday, Gloria said that I should upgrade the television to a 50" (1" for each year, obviously). Last year's models, though, were plagued with various issues, and I never pulled the trigger.

This spring, though, the new Panasonic models were getting stellar reviews, and I wound up getting the 55" (see what I did there) TC-P55VT50. That's the flagship model of Panasonic's plasma line.

So I went from a 42" screen to a 55" screen, from 1080i resolution to 1080P, and how much did it cost me?


In other words, five years after I bought a top-end, 42" plasma, I bought this one for the same price (and it's better in every conceivable way, not just size). That's how quickly technology is moving in terms of price point and quality.

That's why we should care about all the new, ridiculously expensive crap getting introduced this week, because five years from now, we'll be buying 84" 4K displays for $3,000--or less.

Oh, yeah. Panasonic showed a prototype of a 145", 8K display, because Japan is starting 8K broadcasts ("Super Hi Vision") in 2020.

"The Veldt", anyone?

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