Pioneer debuts high resolution PDP monitor

Pioneer has unveiled a new large-screen plasma display panel (PDP) intended for use in public and commercial spaces that boasts higher brightness and contrast, and consumes less power than previous models.

The PDP-503CMX is a 50-inch (125-centimeter) widescreen PDP display that supports maximum resolution of 1,024 by 768 pixels (XGA resolution). The screen offers horizontal and vertical viewing angles of 160 degrees.

Pioneer has been selling large PDP-based displays since 1997 when it introduced the first high-resolution flat panel display onto the market. The screens were originally expected to be popular among consumers, who could use them for Japan's analog high-definition television broadcasting service, although the high price deterred consumers. Corporations, who were keen to use them in boardrooms, in building entrances and as public information displays, became the largest market for such displays.

Because these displays are often placed outside or in daylight, high brightness and contrast are key features. By cutting down on leakage into adjacent cells, Pioneer has been able to raise the brightness of the new panel by 60 percent over its previous models and contrast has been pushed up by as much as 80 percent thanks to a new color filter that reduces reflection.

The screen is also more energy efficient and complies with the international Energy Star program, said the company. It consumes 380 watts in operation -- the lowest for a 50-inch PDP according to Pioneer -- and a power save mode can push consumption down by up to 20 percent.

Pioneer has also had the panel, which supports plug-and-play, certified by Microsoft Corp. for compatibility with Windows and by the Windows Hardware Quality Labs.

The company intends to sell the monitor worldwide with sales starting first in Japan in late August. The display will cost 1.35 million yen (US$10,900). An optional video card that allows the screen to display NTSC video images will go on sale at the same time priced at 50,000 yen. Pioneer is planning monthly production of 3,000 displays, it said.

While the brightness and contrast have gone up and the price has come down, one thing has remained largely the same: at 38.9 kilograms, the entire panel is still too heavy to be carried by one person.

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