Laser TV Holiday Launch Delayed

It’s been about 18 months since Mitsushita was busy releasing one detail after another about its new so-called “laser TV” technology that appeared ready to do some serious competitive damage to plasma units, in particular by now. But chief laser TV proponent Mitsushita has acknowledged in a variety of forums that while the world might be ready for laser TV, the mass production of the new technology is not ready for primetime this holiday season.

An updated announcement on when laser TV products may be released is now expected at CES2008 in January, according to published reports.

Laser TV’s claim to fame is centered on what proponents call a “breakthrough” in existing DLP (digital light processing) through the use of colored lasers. DLP, a registered trademark of Texas Instruments, traditionally uses white-light mercury bulbs. Instead, Mitsubishi’s system uses separate red, green and blue semiconductor lasers in combination with an HD chip, which is designed to provide richer and more complex colors and hues, as well as noticeably more distinct HD clarity and depth-of-field.

According to an article more than a year ago in TV Technology (May 31, 2006), the lasers produce “a more realistic manifestation of black” than current DLP, plasma or LCD screens. Mitsushita said lasers shut off totally when not in use, frame-to-frame, creating a more natural blackness.

In contrast, today’s DLP mercury bulbs do not completely blink off, according to Mitsubishi. Today’s DLP units without colored lasers already produce at least 16 million color variations, including 124,000 shades of gray, according to Texas Instruments.