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Mitsubishi to Unveil Color-Laser HD DLP

Just when you finally thought it was safe to wander out and make that commitment to HD after years of procrastination (and perhaps some penny-pinching), the consumer electronics industry holds out yet another dazzling techno-carrot and tempts you to wait just a tiny bit longer. Theoretically, this could go on forever, although a new form of HD DLP could be on the market by late 2007.

Mitsubishi will unveil a possible breakthrough type of DLP technology that uses colored lasers to create a video display that rivals or surpasses the best HD video out there today. Or so we're told by the New York Times, which has apparently seen the so-called breakthrough technology in action. (Mitsubishi's first public display is expected on April 7 at a confab in Huntington Beach, Calif.)

Apparently those who have seen it (and we're not sure it even has a name yet) say the HD images produced by the laser technology are more vibrant than 35mm film, but its lightweight form and function may do the most to set it apart from the rest of the current HD family of products.

DLP (digital light processing), a technology developed a few years ago by Texas Instruments, currently uses white-light mercury lamps as a light source. But reportedly with Mitsubishi's new color-laser scheme, red, green and blue lasers are used in combination with an HD chip, supposedly affording deeper, richer and more sophisticated color hues and tones, and a better use of "black." Color lasers apparently turn off when not needed, frame to frame, while mercury lamps remain on all the time and "hide," with mixed results when pretending to be black. (The color lasers also are expected to last many times longer than the mercury lamps.)

Because the new screens will be made with advanced plastics and not heavy glass, the laser HD sets will be far lighter than current plasma screens (perhaps only half as much weight) and, therefore, not require heavy-duty framing. Nearly the entire front of the monitor can be devoted to screen surface, with barely a hint of framing -- allowing for new, thin, light architectural designs that may be even sleeker than today's plasma sets.

Mitsubishi reportedly will be showing off a 52-inch prototype of its new color-laser technology this week in its California debut. Stay tuned.