As the countdown continues to all-digital airwaves, here are a few HDTVs to watch in 2008: Philips Eco TV: A green HDTV? Philips' 42PFL5603D, available in...

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As the countdown continues to all-digital airwaves, here are a few HDTVs to watch in 2008:

Philips Eco TV: A green HDTV? Philips’ 42PFL5603D, available in March for $1,400, makes a case with power consumption less than 100 watts — a comparable screen typically uses at least twice that amount — when the 1080p set automatically dims the backlight in darker scenes. It saves money as it enhances black level.

How much money will it save in electricity? Probably not much in a year, but Philips also will attract the green crowd by using lead-free components and little mercury.

(You’ll hear a lot more about televisions and other devices that comply with the European Union’s RoHS directive, which stands for the “Restriction of … Hazardous Substances” in electrical and electronic equipment.)

To complete the green package, Philips ships the HDTV in a box made from recycled materials.

Mitsubishi LaserTV: This could become the year’s biggest HDTV development if Mitsubishi finally delivers sets that use lasers to fire up the screens with twice the color of today’s HDTVs.

Enhanced color, depth of field, clarity and extraordinary brightness with a high contrast ratio could produce the best picture quality seen on an HDTV.

Not so cool: These are clunky rear-projection sets, not sparkling, thin flat panels.

Mitsubishi, after promising the sets would arrive late last year, now says they’ll reach stores sometime this year. (No prices or screen sizes announced.)

Sony XEL-1 OLED: A new year and new set of letters. For 2008, it’s OLED — as in organic light emitting diode or, just among friends, pronounced “Oh-Led.”

The XEL-1, with its 11-inch screen, is among the year’s least impressive HDTVs physically. And its cost, $2,500, guarantees this will rank among the year’s slowest sellers.

But its extreme design — the panel is 3 millimeters deep, about the thickness of three credit cards — and predictions of deep black levels, high contrast ratios and rapid response times could alter HDTV’s future.

Unlike LCD technology, an OLED’s chemical-compound layers between two charged electrodes do not require backlighting. By providing their own light, they produce more brightness with less power.

So far, they’ve been showing up mostly in cellphones, MP3 players and other portable devices with tiny screens. But there’s no evidence Sony can produce these screens in larger sizes and larger quantities.

JVC No-Remote-Control LCD: The HDTV meets The Clapper, with technology that uses snap, clap and gesture recognition instead of a remote. Turn the TV on and off, change volume or channel and scroll through the menu aerobically.

And what happens when you cheer during the Super Bowl and suddenly you’re watching chef Giada De Laurentiis salivate over a truffle?

Panasonic Viera Plasmas: Panasonic, which annually makes the best of the more affordable plasma HDTVs, devotes almost its entire new line (renamed Viera) to 1080p. Only two 720p sets, in 42- and 50-inch models, remain.

The 1080p series also includes a new screen size: 46 inches. Nothing too exciting technologically, but more people will buy these sets in 2008 than any other in this roundup.

LG Electronics LG60 LCD: It’s the big slim-down. This 60-inch set is about 1 ¾ inches thick. Hitachi countered with several smaller LCD sets, each 11/2 inches thick. Maybe that’s too thin — none can fit a digital tuner, though it won’t matter for households with a cable box or satellite receiver.

An add-on tuner, for over-the-air reception of local HDTV broadcasts, is available for some of the sets.

Pioneer showed off a prototype plasma, only 3/8 inch thick, at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that the company says is the world’s thinnest 50-inch set.

Sharp and JVC are also developing thin sets. (None, however, will beat the ultrathin Sony OLED.)

Vizio VP504F: Haven’t even seen it, but this 50-inch plasma could be the bargain of the year. Vizio made its reputation with great prices on HDTVs that compromised performance slightly to reach those prices.

Now it’s going for the price-performance knockout by adding Silicon Optix’s superb HQV processing to a 50-inch, 1080p plasma that arrives in June at $1,700.

The HQV chip is particularly effective at transforming lower-resolution material, like standard-definition TV programming and DVDs.

Philips Eco TV

This green TV saves power consumption — it dims the backlighting in darker scenes for instance — and it comes in a box made of recycled material to boot.

LG Electronics


Slim is in, as LG comes in with a 60-inch set that’s less than 2 inches thick. Other makers, including Hitachi and Pioneer, also have svelte models.

Panasonic Viera Plasmas

Panasonic has adopted the “Viera” name for its lineup of plasma sets. And almost all of them are 1080p models, including this 50-incher.

Vizio VP504F

Price is most often the attraction with Vizio sets. Now it’s to come out in June with a 50-inch plasma model with HQV processing to be priced at $1,700.

Mitsubishi LaserTV

After showing it off at the Consumer Electronics Show, Mitsubishi aims to debut its laser TV sets — and their enhanced color and clarity — this year.



After showing it off at the Consumer Electronics Show, Mitsubishi aims to debut its laser TV sets — and their enhanced color and clarity — this year.