Panasonic shows extra thin Viera plasma flat panel prototype

By Matthew Henry in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS: Panasonic has joined fellow plasma maker Pioneer in using 2008 CES as a launchpad for a lineup of thin plasmas, unveiling a range of prototype Viera models less than an inch thick.

The new Viera TVs are 24.7mm at the thickest point and weigh half as much as current generation models.

“Consumers want thinner and lighter flat panel TVs,” said Panasonic  AVC networks company president, Toshihiro Sakamoto.

“We are proud to show what our engineers have developed in response,” he said, as a display stand with a range of screen sizes was wheeled onto the stage during Sakamoto’s opening keynote address.

“These are prototypes of the next generation of plasma screens, which is the shape of things to come.”

Sakamoto did not announce a release date for the new models but said they will be produced commerically when Panasonic’s fifth and largest plasma manufacturing facility is completed, which will pump out 12 million plasma panels a year.

The thinner screen allows Panasonic to counter LCD makers such as Sharp and Hitachi, which have both announced LCDs at around one inch thick.

Thin is defintely in at this year’s CES. 

Pioneer announced the development of a plasma panel less than one centimetre thick, which was shown to the public for the first time on its stand at the show yesterday.

However, Sony Corporation still claims the honours for thinnest TV announced so far with its OLED televisons, including a 27-inch model and 11-inch model only three mm thick.

In its pre-show press conference yesterday, Panasonic also unveiled a new lineup of Viera televisions including the world’s first 46-inch plasma.

The company also announced that all models from 22-inches and up would now be marketed under the Viera sub-brand.

Also in the pipeline is new plasma panel technology which can reduce power consumption by 50 per cent by doubling the luminous efficiency.

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