Pioneer Announce Fifth-generation Plasma HDTVs

They’re Japan-only products for the time being, but Pioneer have have announced a range of new PureVision high definition (HD) plasma televisions.

The models are: PDP-435HDL (43”, long speakers), PDP-435HDS (43”, short speakers), PDP-435SX (single body), PDP-505HDL (50”, long speakers) and the PDP-505HDS (50”, short speakers).

Plasma TVs are very popular in Japan, with an estimated market of about 450,000 units in 2004. HD broadcasting is well ahead of other countries, and is expected to grow still further as digital terrestrial broadcasting takes off.

The new TVs are capable of displaying 5.75 billion colours. This means, apart from I should keep my HP48 nearer my desk, that each of the 3.2 million RGB colours has a further 1,792 grayscale shades each. Pioneer call this, with no hint of hyperbole, the Advanced Super CLEAR Drive System C.

The TVs also incorporate the world’s first Direct Colour Filter, eliminating the need for a pane of glass across the front of the screen, resulting in improved contrast and focus. If you’ve ever had to lift a 50” plasma screen, you appreciate this the lack of glass panel also makes them considerably lighter – by about 5kg.

How long will they last? Plasma TVs generally are past their best after five years (bet they didn’t tell you that in the shop), but these screens are rated for 60,000 hours – so if you watch TV for five hours a day 365 days a year, expect them to last for 32 years.

Pioneer’s new displays

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?