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Toshiba’s press conference was an invite only affair, and was packed to the gills.

Unfortunately, I’d neglected to arrange it beforehand so wasn’t on the list. However, make no mistake; there was a hardcore newshound at loose at CES – and luckily I just behind him so I followed and got in too. I even got a seat.

Echoing the sentiments made in the LG press conference, Scott Romirez of Toshiba was waxing lyrical about the huge move of consumers in the US to flat panel displays from CRTs. Plasma remains a very strong seller but LCDs are getting increasingly popular as the cost comes down. In 2002, 20in was the most popular size, while last year it was 26in, and next year it will be 32in. Surprise, surprise, it seems consumers buy on price. In fact, Romero predicted that there would be price parity between LCD and plasma by 2007.

Romero stated that form factor is becoming increasingly important and that it’s new designs were sleeker and more attractive. To prove the point, he demonstrated that Toshiba’s new 50in 720p rear-projection DLP set is actually smaller than its 50in Plasma from the front, thanks to its ‘scoop design’.

The 720p DLP sets use Toshiba’s TALEN 5 engine based on Texas Instrument’s HD5 DLP chip for deeper blacks. Toshiba also made much of its move to PixelPure 14-bit video processing. Moving straight to 14-bit with its 4,096 steps of greyscale it skipped 10-bit, which can only offers 1,024 levels.

However, even cooler are two of its new LCD sets, which feature 1080p resolution. While we in the UK can look forward to Sky’s HD broadcasts starting in the spring, the US the US display market seems to already be getting ready for 1080p, even before content has arrived – and that’s great. Toshiba’s 42in 50HP66has an 8ms response time, down from 12ms on last year’s model and there’s a 47in as well.


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