Panasonic shows off thin plasma TV prototype

Plasma TV's can also be thin, a trend which still is in at this years CES. Panasonic has demonstrated a set that is one third of an inch thin

LCD TVs aren't the only TVs that can be thin. On Wednesday, Panasonic demonstrated a plasma TV set that is one-third of an inch thin -- or 8.8 millimeters -- at the thinnest part of its profile.

The 50-inch prototype TV supports a resolution of up to 1080 lines, and can either be mounted on the wall or suspended from a ceiling.

The set also comes with support for WirelessHD, which can transmit full HD video, audio and control signals wirelessly, according to Panasonic. That means the tuner box doesn't have to be connected to the TV using wires.

But don't hold your breath for the set to show up in an electronics store near you any time soon. Plasma TVs this thin might not start shipping until 2010, at the earliest, according to Panasonic.

Like all prototype televisions, Panasonic's latest plasma set is more about showing off the company's technological prowess than anything else. For Panasonic, it's about showing the industry and consumers that plasma technology is still viable.

Among products that are a bit closer to a real launch is the Viera Z1, a one-inch thick 54-inch plasma TV set.

Like its skinnier cousin, the Viera Z1 can connect to other devices using WirelessHD. It also comes with support for Viera Cast, a feature which allows users to watch content from Internet sources such as YouTube on their regular TV.

Panasonic also announced a partnership deal with Amazon.com, which will make it possible for users to watch content downloaded from the Amazon Video On Demand service.

The Z1 will become available this summer, but no pricing has been announced.

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Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
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