By Matthew Henry

MELBOURNE: Pioneer has launched the first plasma TV on the Australian market to feature a native 1080 line progressive scan (1080p) resolution panel, making it one of the few plasmas with a high enough screen resolution to show HD content at full quality.

Pioneer video product manager, Lachlan Fennen, described the 50-inch PDP-5000EX (RRP $14,999) as a significant technological milestone for the brand following 15 years of product development.

“Achieving a 1080p native resolution has been a goal since Pioneer began plasma research and development in 1991. The proprietary technologies developed since that time now enable us to achieve the engineering feat of doubling the pixel density and resolution in a 50-inch plasma monitor,” he said.

The PDP-5000EX is well suited for the current maximum Australian HDTV broadcast resolution – 1080 lines interlaced (1080i), and will be even better when displaying high definition content on next generation optical discs such as Blu-ray, which supports full 1080p pictures.

Interlaced pictures display only half an image’s picture lines on the screen at any one time, as odd and even numbered lines flash intermittently. Progressive scan TVs display every picture line simultaneously, providing smoother and effectively high resolution images.

The 5000EX’s panel can display more than two million individual pixels, and supports other input resolutions including 1080i and 720p.

Earlier this year, Hitachi released a standard-sized 42-inch plasma TV with 1080i resolution, but to date no manufacturer has been able to create a 42-inch plasma capable of displaying 1080p due to the current physical limitations of plasma technology.

Sony Electronics – which has backed LCD-based technologies for the future of its display business – has speculated that today’s high definition benchmark resolution (1920x1080p) may soon be eclipsed by new higher definition standards.

Pioneer’s 5000EX plasma will be available in September and also features many of the company’s proprietary picture technologies, HDMI input and picture circuitry to upscale low resolution images to HD.