Hitachi To Launch Ultra-Thin HDTV In U.S. Next Year - InformationWeek

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Hitachi To Launch Ultra-Thin HDTV In U.S. Next Year

The LCD sets, only 1.5 inches thick, are aimed at high-end consumers.

Hitachi on Tuesday said it plans to launch in the United States next year a new line of high-definition TVs that are only 1.5 inches thick.

The televisions, which have liquid crystal displays, fall under a new category called ultra-thin HDTVs. The new products will be available in Japan in December and in the United States in early 2008. Hitachi claims it will be the first to offer such televisions.

Pricing was not disclosed, but it appears the TVs won't be cheap, since Hitachi is targeting what it describes as a "highly affluent" consumer. The sets are designed to be sleek and discreet, since it's assumed that the TVs will be purchased most often for areas in the home smaller than the living room, where the focus is on "bigger is better," the company said. Areas targeted for the new sets are a kitchen, bathroom, office, and bedroom.

"As very large consumer markets grow and evolve, subsegments with particular nuances will emerge," Daniel Lee, VP of marketing for Hitachi America's ubiquitous platform systems division, said in a statement. "This is precisely what we're seeing in the HDTV market and our new designs are at the forefront of this shift."

Features include what Hitachi calls "advanced dynamic contrast," which analyzes every picture and optimizes its contrast frame by frame. In addition, the sets have automatic color management for regulating hue, saturation, and brightness, and circuitry that better captures details for crisper pictures. The display has a vertical and horizontal viewing angle of 178 degrees, according to Hitachi.

The ultra-thin sets will come in three sizes: 32, 37, and 42 inches. The smallest size is scheduled for release in the United States in the first quarter of 2008, and the two larger models in the second quarter.

In shipping the new TVs next year, Hitachi will miss the holiday shopping season, the most lucrative time of the year for most U.S. retailers. A national survey conducted by Solutions Research Group found that HDTVs topped consumers' top-10 wish list of electronic products.

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