By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: Hitachi has released the world’s first 42-inch (106cm) plasma with a 1080-line interlaced panel – the 8900 series model, which was previewed to retailers around the country earlier this year during the brand’s national roadshow.

The plasma panel used in the 42PD8900TA (RRP $4,399) features a resolution of 1024 pixels wide and 1080 pixels high, making it the highest resolution 42-inch plasma on the market.

Most high resolution plasma panels are currently capable of up to 1366×768 resolution, but lack the pixel count to display a full 1920x1080i high definition signal.

While Hitachi’s 8900 series model also falls short of this mark overall, it matches the vertical resolution of Australia’s highest HD standard, 1080i.

The 8900 series plasma is the first of what many expect will be a shift towards 1080 line panels in the 42-inch high resolution plasma market this year, as manufacturers upgrade their production facilities to create higher resolution panels.

While LCD technology allows HD resolution in small screen sizes, plasma technology is much harder to miniaturise due to the larger physical structure of each pixel, and has therefore taken manufacturers longer to integrate into 42-inch panels.

Last month Pioneer released the first 1080 line progressive scan resolution plasma in the 50-inch PDP-5000EX, which the brand heralded as the realisation of over 15 years of product development. 1080p panels are suited to the upcoming high definition optical disc format Blu-ray and Sony’s PlayStation3, which will both adopt the 1080p standard for high definition picture output.

Hitachi’s 8900 series model also features 68.6 billion colours, power swivel stand, twin-analogue tuners, an SD memory card slot and two HDMI inputs.