Thin TVs are In at IFA 2008

CES might be the largest consumer electronics (CE) trade show in the U.S., but it isn't the only large-scale CE show, nor even the oldest. Taking place this week in Berlin is the IFA 2008 consumer electronics show, of which its origins actually date as far back as 1924 when it started as a trade show for the radio industry. Things have changed a bit since then.

Samsung X360
(Credit: Engadget)
The show doesn't actually officially kick off until Friday, but plenty of CE news is already pouring out of Berlin. Curiously, much of this news is focused on slimming form factors...

Samsung has just unrelieved a laptop that it says is lighter than "Air"--the MacBook Air that is. Engadget reports that the X360 is an ultraportable that weighs just 2.8 pounds (with the optional SSD and six-cell battery) and is only 0.66 inches at its thinnest section (it is 1.2 inches thick at the other end). The notebook is powered by a Centrino 2 ULV processor and chipset, and comes standard with 1GB of RAM, upgradable to 4GB. The 13.3-inch display has a native resolution of 1280x800, driven by an Intel X4500 integrated GPU. Hard drive options include a 5,400-rpm 120GB hard drive or 64GB or 128GB SSDs. The X360 does not include an optical drive, but it does come with "7-in-1 card reader, three USB ports, PCI ExpressCard/34, HDMI, VGA, LAN and a docking port. There's naturally WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0+ EDR and a 1.3 megapixel camera." Shiny Shiny states
Sharp XS1 Aquos
 (Credit: Gizmodo)
that Samsung reports up to 10 hours of battery life from the standard six-cell battery, and up to 13 hours with the optional 9-cell battery. The X360 will be available in October for between €1,850 and €2,000 (about $2,720 - $2,940 in USD) in Europe. No word yet on when the X360 will be available in the U.S.

Obviously not quite as portable--but equally impressive--is Sharp's new 23-mm thick (about 0.9 inches) XS1 Aquos series 52-inch and 65-inch LCD panels, as reported by Gizmodo. The XS1 features a 1920x1080p resolution, with a 100MHz refresh rate, a 6ms response time, a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, 100Hz motion processing and a detachable speaker system. The XS1 is due out in the U.K. in October. Pricing has not been announced yet, nor has Samsung stated if or when the XS1 will be available in the U.S.

It's not just LCD TVs that are getting skinny, but so are plasma TVs as well. Slashgear reports that Panasonic showed off two prototype plasma displays that are just 24.7mm thick (about 0.97 inches).
Panasonic prototype
(Credit: TrustedReviews)
The 58-inch and 60-inch displays are direct heirs to the 50-inch thin Plasma display prototype that Panasonic showed off in January at CES. The displays include Wireless HD, so that potentially the only cable that would need to connect to it is the power cord. PC World reports that Panasonic stated "the technology is 'market ready' but then said it won't be available until 2009. That likely means the company is waiting for the start of production at its new state-of-the-art PDP plant in Amagasaki, Japan, before commercializing the panels."

Philips 42PFL9803 
(Credit: T3)

Another thin display is the 42-inch Philips 42PFL9803 that T3 reported on. At 34mm thick (about 1.34 inches), it's not quite as skinny as other thin TVs, but the 42PFL9803 has a few things going for it that the others don't. Not only does the 1080p display feature a mind-boggling 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio, but instead of using Plasma or LCD, the 42PFL9803 uses a technology Philips call LED LUX, "which equips screens with 1152 individual LEDs making up 128 segments, each of which can be dimmed independently allowing certain parts of the display to produce bright whites and the rest to remain deep black." Philips claims that this technology delivers the deepest blacks because when a pixel is displaying "black," the pixel is actually off and therefore not generating any light at all. Register Hardware reports that the 42PFL9803 will start shipping at the end of September for €2,500 (about $3,675 USD).

Sony KDL-40ZX1 
(Credit: Engadget HD)

Of all the anorexic displays at IFA, the Sony KDL-40ZX1 easily comes in as the welterweight at only 9.9mm thick (about 0.39 inches). Sony Insider reports that the 1080p LCD display features LED backlighting, 120Hz motion processing, and a 3,000:1 contrast ratio. The KDL-40ZX1 includes a single HDMI port, but a there will be a wireless HD base station option (which transmits only at 1080i). Engadget HD reports that the KDL-40ZX1 will go on sale in Japan on November 10 and sell for ¥490,000 (about $4,476 USD).

Sony's Bravia BDV-IT1000 
Credit: Crunchgear

The final product of note that has a penchant for skinny is Sony's Bravia BDV-IT1000 Blu-ray home-theater-in-a-box (a.k.a. an "all-in-one" home theater system). Sony Insider reports that the BDV-IT1000 includes "2 HDMI inputs, Xross Media Bar GUI (always a nice addition), audio support for the latest and greatest Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio complemented by 700Watts of Sony's 32-bit Full Digital S-Master amplifier power, Digital Media port and wireless sourround [sic] rear speakers." It is the wireless speakers that add this product to the thin-is-in category: each "compact full-range speaker drive-unit" is only 16mm thick (about 0.63 inches). No word yet on availability or price.
Tags:  TV, TVs, thin, IFA, AR