Big-Screen TVs Big at CES

As predicted, reports from CES indicate that the show was full of big screen, advanced TV displays (most carrying big price tags). Big screens come in all technologies, too, not just front and rear projectors. Included on the show floor was a 102-inch wide direct-view liquid crystal display, the largest LCD panel yet made. The 102-inch panel was a demonstration, but one manufacturer has commercialized a 71-inch LCD panel, the price of which is said to be $75,000. Also seen was a 71-inch wide plasma panel. In addition to the more common microdisplay projection technologies, such as LCD and DLP, the newest microdisplay technology to be trumpeted was the surface-conduction electron-emitter display, or SED.

The current top-end advanced displays are capable of displaying 1920 x 1080p on a pixel-for-pixel basis, but manufacturers say little or nothing about frame rates. Although 720p/60 is broadcast every day, it is using currently available compression technologies, impossible to compress 1080p/60 into an ATSC bit stream. It is possible to broadcast 1080p at 24 fps, and add 2/3 pulldown at the receiver in order to display at 60 Hz, but this is done infrequently if ever, in practice. The commonly broadcast 1080i/30 can be de-interlaced and displayed at 60 fps by repeating each de-interlaced frame, but of course, this is 2/2 pulldown, and does not improve the motion rendition of the source material, or remove the interlace artifacts.

One safe prediction is that we can expect the coming year to bring many more big displays with big price tags to the marketplace.