Advances in display technology have allowed consumers to indulge in two seemingly paradoxical urges. People clamor for smaller, more ubiquitous screens on smartphones and tablets, while at the same time demanding larger, more immersive screens for home theaters.
At CEATEC, the Asian version of the U.S. Consumers Electronics Show (CES) currently underway in Japan, electronics companies have fulfilled both those impulses by showing off light weight projectors and more powerful televisions.
On the television front, Panasonic hit CEATEC with an Internet-enabled TV that allows users to play game shows along with actual contestants. More usefully, the television allows iChat-like video conferencing, so fans can watch their favorite shows or sporting events with their friends, even if their friends are miles away.
Toshiba also brought a TV to CEATEC, this one showing off 3-D tech instead of Internet connectivity. The Regza GL1 allows users to view shows in 3-D without donning cumbersome glasses. The television uses lenticular lenses, which produce the illusion of depth when viewed from certain angles.
Whereas those companies went big, Hitachi went small, presenting a projector that produces an image equal to an 80-inch screen from only two feet away. The projector weighs in at around nine pounds, but measures less than a foot across and only three inches thick. While not a pico projector, this laptop-sized device is portable and versatile enough for easy travel, or for sticking into odd spaces in cramped apartments.
Toshiba aims for a December release of the Regza; Panasonic hasn't announced a date for the launch of its TV and Hitachi's projector has already hit the shelves.
These advances may seem expected in and of themselves, but these CEATEC announcements indicate that despite a strong showing at last year's CES, the market for screens with glasses-free 3-D, Internet connectivity and/or miniature size remains wide open, and something to look out for next year at the CES show in Las Vegas.
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