Hitachi has developed a line of 1.5-inch (35mm) Ultra Thin LCD HDTVs that will debut in Japan in December and the United States in early 2008.
Hitachi said it expects to be the first among a group of manufacturers preparing ultra-thin flat-panel displays to market the new products.
The company will continue to use its plasma technology to address larger screen sizes, and is adding the Ultra-Thin models to address discerning consumers looking for high-quality options under 50 inches. Early models will be configured as TV "monitors," lacking internal tuners, the company said.
Models in the series will feature the 32-, 37- and 42-inch screen sizes, and the two larger models will have 1080p HD resolution. The 32-inch model, which will have 1,366 by 768 resolution, will ship in the United States in the first quarter of 2008, and the 37- and 42-inch models will ship in the United States in the second quarter of 2008. Prices will be announced later.
The LCD TVs are said to be stylish with a design for "a highly affluent and refined segment of consumers who seek luxury, style and prestige."
Hitachi executives said the products will initially be sold under the company's high-end Director's Series, which has distribution restricted to A/V specialty and custom installation accounts; however, the technology will be found to additional models that will see more open distribution later in 2008, the company said.
The Ultra Thin line will use a new External Electrode Fluorescent Lamp (EEFL) back-lighting technology, which enabled Hitachi to achieve the thin dimensions. The lighting system is also said to deliver greater power efficiency, "better and more flexible color accuracy" and a longer overall lifespan.
"As very large consumer markets grow and evolve, sub-segments with particular nuances will emerge," said Daniel Lee, Hitachi America ubiquitous platform systems division marketing VP. "This is precisely what we're seeing in the HDTV market and our new designs are at the forefront of this shift."
While Lee noted that Hitachi knows the "bigger is better" segment "very well" with its Director's Series plasmas, "our research shows a new trend emerging — consumers want access to information and entertainment throughout the home. It's also what's behind the emergence of these new Ultra Thin Displays from Hitachi."
Other technologies in the Ultra-Thin LCDs include Hitachi's "anti-judder" technique in the 37- and 42-inch models. These LCDs convert Hollywood's 24 fps speed and matches to television systems 60 fps, eliminating "judder" motion matching the original movie.
(For more on the technical capabilities of Hitachi's Ultra Thin LCD line, visit www.TWICE.com.)