Samsung claims largest LCD HDTV

Samsung Electronics has introduced a 46-inch flat-panel LCD TV at the Home Entertainment Show in New York, claiming that it is the largest such set to hit the consumer market to date.

The company also unveiled a line of rear-projection televisions that are powered by a new Texas Instruments Inc. chip.

TV's Specs

The LTP468W, the new LCD TV, boasts an extremely high 1920-by-1080 progressive native resolution--the highest of the 18 Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) digital television formats. Samsung also has a 57-inch LCD TV under development.

The LTP468W was first shown as a prototype in 2002. It is scheduled to ship in July at an expected list price of US$9999 (AUD$1,429), well above the cost of most 42- and 50-inch plasma TVs, its primary competitors.

However, Samsung representatives say an LCD TV has significant advantages over plasma. They are lighter, have longer product lives, are less prone to shipping damage, and can be used at higher altitudes, Samsung spokespeople say. (More information about the differences between LCD and plasma TVs is available in PC World's Buying Guide to Flat-Screen TVs).

The LTP468W has an 800:1 contrast ratio and a brightness rating of 500 candelas per square meter. Most impressively, the TV has a 12-millisecond pixel response time, excellent for handling fast-moving video. The TV has horizontal and vertical viewing angles of 170 degrees, meaning the picture is still bright and clear at extreme viewing angles. The set also has a built-in JBL stereo speaker system with 30 watts of total audio power, and weighs less than 100 pounds.

The panel includes a two-tuner Picture-In-Picture option and has DVI and dual component video inputs. The LTP468W will also add the newest digital video connector, called HDMI.

Waiting for Signal

Samsung will continue to focus on developing larger LCD TVs for consumer use, company officials say. The vendor has already demonstrated a prototype 57-inch LCD HDTV.

There's still a dearth of programming in the U.S. that can take advantage of this set's 1920-by-1080 format (the TV can handle lower-resolution programming as well). However, it is inevitable that more content will eventually be broadcast at this high resolution, says Robert Seidel, the CBS television network's vice president of engineering and technology.

"For the last five years, CBS has been using the 1920-by-1080 format for all of our HDTV programming, including primetime, daytime, movies, specials, and sports broadcasts," Seidel says. "Our sister network, MTV, produced the MTV music awards in 1920-by-1080 at 24p. Showtime and UPN are using 1920-by-1080 as well. In fact, of the 23 HD channels or services announced to date, 20 are using the 1920-by-1080 format. If we look at the TV industry as a whole, a significant number of shows currently in production are captured in the 1920-by-1080 at 24p format for all the major networks. So the content is out there."

New Rear-Projection TVs

At the show, Samsung also announced its latest rear-projection TVs, which are the first to use Texas Instruments' DLP HD3 chip.

Samsung's new 63 series of RPTV DLP sets range in screen sizes from 46- to 63-inch, including the new 46-inch HLP4663W, the 50-inch HLP5063W, the 56-inch HLP5663W, and the 61-inch HLP6163W. All feature a 1500:1 contrast ratio and have a native resolution of 1280-by-720 progressive.

All of the models are expected to be in stores by July. The HLP4663W has a suggested retail price of US$3299. The HLP5063W is expected to cost $3699, and the HLP5663W, $4199. The HLP6163 has suggested a retail price of $4699.

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Ramon G. McLeod

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