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HDTV: Tomorrow Not Quite Here

Jan 1, 2007  •  Post A Comment

By Natalie Finn

Special to TelevisionWeek

Sales of high-definition TV sets increased 52 percent during the first nine months of 2006 compared with the same period in 2005, according to a November survey by the NPD Group. Meanwhile, the average price of an HDTV set fell by about 8 percent during that time.

As HDTVs become more attainable for the average consumer-they’re expected to reach 90 percent market share by 2010-it’s only a matter of time before the next phase of digital displays rolls out.

Actually, the next generation of TV sets is already here. But while 1080p screens are technically able to offer twice the resolution of most HDTV sets currently in use, they wouldn’t be able to handle a 1080p broadcast even if it were streamed in their direction because television transmission standards are lagging.

But if you do get comfortable with a 1080p display in the near future, at least you don’t have to worry that something straight out of the 1950s-like 3-D-will come along and take its place. While manufacturers and broadcasters are playing with the technology, trying to rework it so you won’t have to wear the funny glasses, it’s not going to be a top priority anytime soon.

Meanwhile, there’s a flat-screen TV out there that uses all of the benefits of cathode ray tube technology without the bulk and tops the clarity and sharpness of your average plasma or LCD, or liquid crystal display, set. But that’s exactly where SED, or surface-conduction electron-emitter display, technology is going to stay for the time being-out there … somewhere.