There's no doubt that the buzz around HD TV is growing by the day. With this in mind Sony has announced a whole range of HD compliant TVs.
Last up was a bit of a hybrid beast, an LCD rear projection TV based on the 3LCD technology. These 3LCD sets are clearly being pitched against the slew of DLP rear projection TVs that have appeared over the past year. In fact, Sony went to some lengths to tell us how much better the 3LCD TVs were than their DLP counterparts, due mainly to the “horrible rainbow effect” that plagues DLP.
I know it’s common practice to criticise the competition, but I found it a little odd when Sony made such a huge deal about the rainbow effect on DLP, saying that anyone concerned with image quality wouldn’t be able to watch a DLP display. But before I could take issue with this, a fellow journalist from Home Cinema Choice magazine jumped in saying that rainbow effect isn’t anywhere near as much of an issue as it once was. To be honest, I agree and am quite a fan of DLP technology, but once again, I’ll reserve final judgement on quality comparisons until I actually view a 3LCD TV for an extended period.
There are two sets in the 3LCD range, one 42in and one 50in, both with identical specs. Resolution wise, you get 1,280 x 720, while inputs are generous with HDMI, component video, two RGB SCART and a PC input.
Now, if you haven’t noticed already, there’s a glaring problem with this range of HD Ready TVs – they can only support a 720 HD picture. Considering that everyone knows that the pinnacle of HD quality is 1080, I was amazed that there was no mention of 1080 support. When I asked why none of the screens supported 1080 I was told that there was a 1080 screen in the pipeline that was due in December.
So, although as I stated in my column a while back, you can’t sit on the fence forever, I’d be tempted to wait a few months for a 1080 screen. Luckily I’m looking to buy a new TV at the end of the year, so there will hopefully be a few 1080 sets to choose from by then. Of course, even then it depends on how much of a price premium I’ll have to pay for those extra lines.