Hitachi Develops 42-inch HD Plasma

Hitachi and its subsidiary, Fujitsu Hitachi Plasma Display Ltd., have developed a 42-inch plasma display panel with resolution of 1,080 x 1,920 pixels. The company expects that plasma panels with what it terms "full HD" resolution of 1,366 x 786 pixels or (wide) XGA resolution of 1,024 x 768 pixels will surpass standard definition VGA (video graphics array) panels in the near future.

Hitachi said in a statement it now thinks it holds about a 30-percent share of plasma sets sold in Japan and is concentrating on other overseas markets, including America. Hitachi reportedly is banking on the 42-inch panel (there are 50-inch prototypes with the same resolution from other makers) to be a strategic product when it is introduced globally by spring 2007.

The pixel pitch of the 42-inch full HD panel is 0.48 x 0.48 millimeters, according to the firm, or about half the pitch of conventional HD panels. By enlarging the aperture ratio from 50 percent to 61 percent, it says, the panel achieves a contrast ratio of 3,000-to-1 and brightness of 1,000 candelas per square meter, according to Hitachi. The full HD 42-inch panel will be produced at a new Hitachi factory that will use glass substrates also suited for 37- and 55-inch panels.

Plasma units enjoyed a huge surge in shipments and sales for much of 2005, and that growth is expected to accelerate in 2006 and beyond. Hitachi estimates that this year's demand for plasma screens will wind up being around 8 million units worldwide, with HD panels accounting for about 44 percent of the total. By 2008, says the manufacturer, closer to 70-percent of the projected 14 million PDP units sold will have HD resolution.