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U.K.: Philips Sets Price for ‘Cinema 21:9 HD’

This is one of those occasional “if-you-have-to-ask-you-can’t-afford-it” items…

Philips has just released MSRP for its new 56-inch Cinema 21:9 HD set which boasts a wider-than-HD aspect ratio (thus, the 21:9) to accommodate most major motion pictures which are typically wider than 16:9.

The super-wide 1080p screen, at least for now, will only be sold in the United Kingdom and possibly other sectors of Europe. Philips said the Cinema 21:9 HD will cost about $7,400 in the U.K., according to the Daily Mail of London. (Therefore, look for special sales come-ons in the upcoming holiday season starting at around $6,900.)

The pending rollout of the new widescreen HD panel designed to virtually eliminate horizontal bars during movie viewing was first announced last winter (HD Notebook, Jan. 28, 2009, http://www.tvtechnology.com/article/73664). The 21:9 panel boasts about 8.3 million pixels, Philips said, which will come in especially handy for Blu-ray Disc’s 1080p content.

While it’s true the 21:9 aspect ratio will eliminate horizontal bars for most films, the screen will necessitate the use of sidebars for virtually all 16:9 HD broadcast and cable TV content (not to mention good old-fashioned 4:3 video). An online demo from Philips is available here. http://www.cinema.philips.com/

Philips had previously announced it was leaving the North American TV market, so the new cinema-centric model will not be sold in America, Canada or Mexico.