Time to upgrade that 20in telly in the corner. Panasonic's 103in plasma is finally here.
Earlier this week I got the chance to get up close and personal with Panasonic’s massive TH-103PF9 103in plasma display. I’d actually first seen it on the company’s stand back in January at CES and in fact, we were told that the one being shown in London was the very same pre-production unit.
The TH-103PF9 is the largest in the plasma in the world. It’s a full HD screen with a native resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 and offering up 2.07 million pixels. Just to put this truly stunning panel into perspective, it’s the equivalent of four 51in panels or 16, 26in TVs!
To put it into a visual perspective I asked the very nice young lady to stand by the screen – and yes she’s of average height, for anyone who thinks she might be really tiny and standing next to a 42in screen.
It’s based on Panasonic’s 9th generation of plasma panels and uses 16-bit image processing, which actually equates to four times the processing power of 14-bit screen. This enables it to display up to 4,096 colour gradation steps and claims a contrast ratio of 5,000:1.
To show off this screen at its best Panasonic had it hooked up to it’s recently launched DMP-BD10 Blu-ray player, which by the way will set you back a wince inducing £1,299.99. That said, after the disappointment of Blu-ray at the Samsung launch and on the Sony Media Center, Panasonic has re-established my faith in Blu-ray. Viewing a trailer for Ice Age 2 and The Fantastic Four, images were crisp, vibrant and packed with detail. I’ve always thought that a display like this was a silly idea for a home cinema screen but actually watching a film on it was a completely absorbing experience.
While the 103in takes all the headlines, Panasonic also has a 65in and a 50in on display, the TH-65PF9EK and the TH-50PF9EK respectively, both of which also sport full 1,920 x 1,080 resolution.
Fantastic as they are, I’m hoping the Panasonic or indeed anyone, will be able to create a 1080p plasma at even lower sizes. Even if you can afford it, a 50in display is too large for the average British lounge, so if you’re after 1080 resolution LCD is currently the only way to go.
Panasonic said that the main markets for the screen would be commercial uses, such as trade shows, rental companies and the transport industry, specifically airports. The numbers expected to be sold for dedicated home cinema usage are likely to be minimal, though they confirmed that some will be heading that way. Cripes.
As for cost, the fact that if you need to ask you can’t afford it is inevitable, and in fact we weren’t provided with an exact figure- between £30,000 and £60,000 pounds was all that was said.
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