By Patrick Avenell
SYDNEY, NSW: Shortly before the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the first consumer panels were released to market. For just shy of $20,000, a consumer could pick up a standard definition, 42-inch plasma screen to watch all the dramatic action unfold. With most Full HD screens at this size now hovering around the $1,000 mark, it’s seems like a century, rather than just a decade, ago.
Therefore, when Samsung released its new $10,000 LED LCD panel last Friday night, it was a revelation for this dormant – previously thought extinct – premium TV section. The departure of Pioneer from the plasma market was thought to be the death knell, so it is encouraging for the industry that Samsung has decided to move into this space with their new Series 9 LED.
Today on Current.com.au, we’ll look at the most expensive TVs being marketed by the Big 4 consumer electronics brands: Samsung, LG, Panasonic and Sony. Although the latter three have not released any models selling for 5-digit sums, they do offer a lot of features at very lofty price points.
Samsung Series 9 LED LCD (RRP $10,000)
For taking a second mortgage to buy this new panel, consumers get a 55-inch LED LCD TV with a stainless steel bezel. The remote control itself comes loaded with a 3-inch TV screen, which can stream content, via WiFi from the TV. There’s full internet connectivity, for apps, catch-up TV and movies, through Samsung’s Internet@TV portal. Almost as an afterthought, this is a 3D TV. Samsung describes this model as “a triumph of style and substance”.
LG 55LH95QD LED LCD (RRP $7,474)
Samsung’s Korean competitor, LG, is hitting just under the $7,500 mark with this 55-inch LED LCD TV. According to the supplier, this TV has a 5,000,000:1 “mega” contrast ratio. It’s got MotionFlow 200Hz for smooth vision, Wireless 1080p media box and invisible speakers. An Intelligent Sensor built-in to this TV will recognise the TV’s setting, adjusting the picture quality in order to prevent viewers’ eyes becoming tired. Despite LG’s pedigree with both 3D and in-built time shifting technology, this TV contains neither technologies.
Panasonic TH-P65V10A Plasma ($6,699)
The kings of plasma technology, Panasonic is the only one of the Big 4 currently marketing a plasma as their most expensive model. This 65-inch NeoPlasma TV has a 2,000,000:1+ dynamic contrast ratio, 12th Generation panel, 4 HDMI inputs and is only 2 inches thick. Panasonic’s big selling point for this model is its 600Hz sub field drive, which makes for greater clarity when watching fast motion pictures, such as sport. Like LG’s most expensive model, this TV is not 3D enabled. Panasonic further notes that it also markets a 103-inch TV for the commerical market, which is considerably more expensive than even the Samsung TV.
Sony 55-inch HX800 ($4,699)
The cheapest of the most expensive is also one of the most feature-packed. Sony’s 55-inch LCD is wireless LAN model with Internet TV, the new Bravia 3 Engine, an Ambient Sensor for watching TV at different times of the day, and Motionflow 200Hz. For content input, there are four HDMI inputs, a single USB slot and an Ethernet port. This TV is considered 3D ready, which means that it can support 3D content, but only after additional accessories are purchased.