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Last Updated: Friday, 7 October 2005, 18:27 GMT 19:27 UK
TV display wars at Ceatec
Chris Long
By Chris Long
Reporter, BBC Click Online

The largest technology and consumer electronics exhibition in Asia called Ceatec (Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies) has been taking place this week in Tokyo. Click Online's Chris Long was there to see the latest technology which will be out in the shops soon.

A woman showing a prototype of a HD-DVD player and disc
The battle for the next generation of media storage continues
High definition TV and hard disk recording are just two of the major consumer technologies that are a given here in Japan. Unfortunately here they want just a little bit more.

When it comes to hi tech here in Tokyo it is not so much choice as swamped. DVD or hard disk recorder - take your choice - they also do cables.

And if you want a TV you start here and end up here, so the obvious thing to do is invent a whole lot of new even better stuff to make all this redundant.

Alas, it is always the way in this business. Everybody is so busy inventing things that the user often gets left behind.

Take the battle between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD - two new storage disk technologies. This is set, they assure us, to revolutionise the world of, well, disk media storage.

The two of them are fighting for the hearts and minds of the bemused public.

But this all may be for nothing. It is reported from China - which makes between 70% and 80% of the world's DVD players - that it is going to launch a third, wholly incompatible drive by 2008.

And now Sony has just arrived with a system that may change the game.

Sony Vaio's Chris Painter says: "This is an eight channel recording server - it records eight channel simultaneously...

"Depending on the bit rate that is set, it will record up to three weeks, using all eight channels and two Terabytes (2,000 gigabytes) of hard drive space."

The big battle is between LCD and plasma
But if you think that is overkill, there is a more restrained unit a mere one terabyte that records two high definition channels for 100 hours.

But this is all business as usual for the recording industry.

And it is much the same in the display world.

Display battle

There are three main technologies, plasma, LCD (liquid crystal display) and back projection.

With second generation display chips, the cheaper back projection systems have gone high definition without looking like camper vans in the process.

But the big battle is between LCD and plasma.

Plasma screens tend to be larger and LCD smaller, yet while plasma has picture advantages, the LCD screens tend to use less power and be more robust, but that is changing.

For example, the plasma crowd is now playing the environmentally friendly card.

Pioneer has developed a system called Crystal Emissive Layer. It is essentially smaller, brighter pixels, and is used in a prototype screen that has a resolution above high definition.

But because it uses less power you can run the current resolutions using less electricity.

This is the high tech arena and Japan is on the front line of the technology war, so it will not be a surprise that, not to be outdone, the LCD crowd has just produced a 65 inch high definition screen.

Do these people not understand the idea of less is more?

Click Online is broadcast on BBC News 24: Saturday at 2030, Sunday at 0430 and 1630, and on Monday at 0030. It can be watched on the website from late Friday afternoon. A short version is also shown on BBC Two and BBC News 24 as part of BBC Breakfast: Saturday at 0645. Also BBC World.

Ceatec shows off future gadgets
07 Oct 05 |  Technology


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