My inlaws recently bought a plasma HDTV – a nice 50″ Samsung model. The purchase was the impetus for me to learn a little about the various flavors of HDTV out there; plasma, LCD, etc. In a nutshell, I learned that DLP had the best picture and color, and is thinner than old-style CRT but still cannot be hung on a wall. Plasma is the cheapest, can be hung on a wall, and has great image contrast, but may suffer from image burn in and must be replaced in total if the screen breaks, it cannot be repaired. Finally, LCD has great image quality, is thin enough to wall-mount, and has no burn-in issues, but is vastly more expensive.
Now comes along a fourth technology, laser TV:
Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Novalux Inc. is one of the main developers of the upcoming laser TV technology, and promises that its products will deliver appreciable benefits over plasma, LCD and CRT televisions. When compared to plasma and LCD, laser TV technology boasts half the production cost, double the color range, and three-quarters less power consumption.
One area where laser TV may give up to the flat panel technologies plasma and LCD is in profile. The thin profile of flat panels allows users to hang their televisions on a wall, like a picture or painting. Rear projection televisions, by nature, are thicker than flat panels, but thanks to recent developments in the DLP market and the weight savings of laser technology, clever manufacturers may be able to put laser TVs on the wall too.
“The one that Sony had on the show floor was one that they built themselves using our lasers, and it was a thin cabinet TV – maybe 8 to 10-inches – thin enough to mount on the wall,” Niven added.
It remains to be seen whether the manufacturers succeed in making laser TVs thin enough to wall-mount, but even so, 10-inches thick is pretty impressive. The power consumption angle is also particularly interesting as a selling point. These TVs should start to appear in 2008.