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Gateway enters FPD market with 42 inch Plasma.

  11/7/2002 - Thursday, November 07, 2002 1:08:35 PM MST Albuquerque, Nm
  By Dustin D. Brand; Owner AMO

FPD and large screen LCD prices are set to drop.
  Flat Panel Displays have largely been expensive with prices ranging anywhere from $4,500-25,000 USD. The main reason for this is the manufacturing process was not designed for larger panel sizes, and in actuality started with much smaller sizes.

  With the 6th generation LCD plants coming online and a recent slump in the LCD market, LCD panel prices have continued to drop and overall LCD marketshare has risen. It is projected that by the 3rd quarter, this recent price drop will grow the LCD marketshare for monitors from 32% to 35% worldwide.

  Flat Panel Displays, the generic term for any Display that is flat and relatively thin encompasses LCDs, Plasma, Organic LED Displays and other next generation displays. Plasma Displays are different in the fact that they use gases in the plasma state to react with phosphors to form color vs transistors reacting with liquid crystal and a glass color filter to produce color as with TFT LCDs.

  Plasma displays are superior to TFT LCD's for several reasons:
  Viewing Angle and Brightness - Due to the use of phosphors and a flat surface, Plasma Displays provide a viewing angle of over 160 degrees, far surpassing TFT LCD's.
  Currently larger - Size does matter, and currently Plasma FPDS come as large as 61" with a wide viewing angle.

  Plasma Display formats are generally 16:9 or widescreen vs 4:3 or normal TV viewing. HDTV, or High Definition TeleVison provides different formats for viewing. 1080i refers to 1080-line by 1920 pixel format interlaced and 720p refers to 720-line 1280-pixel progressive scanning. In interlaced scanning, half the lines in a full frame (a screen) are scanned onto the screen in a sixtieth of a second (60Hz), immediately followed by the remaining half of the lines also scanned at a sixtieth of a second with odd lines first then even. At 60 Hz, this results in a full frame (screen) image 30 times a second (due to the interlaced format) resulting in 30 Frames Per Second. Progressive scanning is higher quality because it scans each line progressively, and essentially reads an entire frame in the time it takes interlaced scanning to read 1 field (or 1/2 frame). This results in 60 Frames Per Second for progressive scanning vs 30 for interlaced.

  When I first looked at the new Gateway specs of the 42" plasma display they are selling at a rock bottom price of $2999, I found the specs to be exactly what I expected, hardly dazzling. The new Gateway display while having support for 1080i and 720p formats does so in the less than perfect way, by using filters. In reality, the Gateway 42" Plasma display has only 480 horizontal lines of resolution in 42 inches.

  The full Gateway 42" Flat Plasma Display details are here.

  The actual native pixel resolution for the Gateway display is 852x480 with progressive scan. While this isn't necessarily bad, its a falsity. It order to truely support 720 progressive scanning, you must have a minimum native pixel resolution of 1280. Regardless of 480p, or 720p, neither is truely supported, and 480p isn't even supported via filters.

  A similar Sony 42" Flat Plasma Display, priced at $7499.00 (a whole $4500 more costly) includes native support for 480i, 480p, 1080i and 720p and has a native pixel resolution of 1280x1024.

  While both the Gateway and the Sony include the RGB connector for your Computer, using the panels as a display for a computer is better suited for the conference room, not the desk.

  So, although the Gateway comes in at an astounding $4500 cheaper than the Sony KZ-42TS1, the Gateway lacks the pixel resolution to truely support HDTV resolutions. It does however support them in filters reducing the overall image quality to that which it can handle to display.

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