Digital dexterity allows crystal-clear viewing

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 November, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 November, 2003, 12:00am

Product: NEC Plasma TV
Price: $39,800 to $165,000
Pros: Superb viewing experience
Cons: Still too expensive

If you think nothing of splurging $165,000 and have a huge wall to spare, a 61-inch NEC plasma television could be just the investment to impress your friends.

The new XGA plasma monitor from NEC features a proprietary 'Digital AccuDevice' that gives full digital sampling of all input signals through digital signal processing. That means the image you get is higher-quality and noise-free. The contrast ratio is also greater in the new NEC plasma televisions than the previous generation, giving a viewing experience that could rival LCD sets.

For buyers of flat-screen, large televisions, the choice is really either plasma or LCD. Some buyers have little idea of the difference between the two technologies. They decide on size and price, not bothering to find out which one consumes more energy or lasts longer. Plasma has the advantage because factories are cranking them out by the thousands, so often plasma sets are cheaper than LCDs. Plasma also has the lead on size. Samsung last month unveiled a 70-inch plasma display whereas the largest LCD set available is the 40-inch, also from Samsung, released last week.

NEC has actually launched four new plasma televisions with the 61-inch model at the top end. The 42-inch plasma monitor priced at $39,800 is close to new LCD set prices. The 50-inch model is priced at $72,000.