Zenith Cuts Price on Giant Plasma Screen
Whether the price reduction is aimed at accommodating a sluggish economy or simply making the big screen more attractive to a larger market isn't clear, but reducing an announced price before a product ships could provoke many questions about the manufacturer's intent. Should dealers then slash an additional 10% off the new price, upscale buyers could conceivably pick up the high-definition display for closer to $22K—not exactly chump change, but not an unreasonable price given that the DPDP60W is the biggest high-definition plasma screen on the market today.
(NEC demonstrated a superb prototype high-def 61" PDP at the Society for Information Display trade show earlier this summer. The finished product, the PlasmaSync 61MP1, will have even better resolution than the Zenith, and a contrast ratio of 1000:1. NEC's biggest plasma screen will go into production late this summer.)
Zenith's new flagship model—as big as four 30" screens combined—has a 16:9 aspect ratio, a 330:1 contrast ratio, and image resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. A built-in NTSC tuner allows viewing of normal analog television signals, upconverted to 480p, and the set also accepts computer-generated signals in the VGA, SVGA, and XGA formats.
While digital video signals must be picked up and processed by an external digital receiver, the DPDP60W can display them as either 480p or 1080i, the highest level of resolution for digital video. Zenith claims the PDP has a color palette of 16.7 million colors. Peak brightness is specified as "180 candles/square meter." Its 160-degree viewing angle means that viewers off the central axis can still enjoy a clear, bright picture.
The cabinet of the DPDP60W is made of brushed aluminum. Zenith supplies masking panels to hide the non-illuminated areas of the screen when it is used for viewing material with a 4:3 aspect ratio. Wall-mounting brackets, ceiling-suspension hardware, a desktop pedestal, and a matching table are all available as accessories. A universal remote control with a backlit LCD is standard equipment. Audio capabilities include an inboard Dolby Digital surround sound decoder and a pair of small 10W speakers.