There's no need to book tickets to catch the latest 3-D flick. With Panasonic's new television you can project life-size images of Scarlett Johansson, Charlize Theron or Robert Downey Jnr straight into your living room. At 152 inches, the TH-152UX1is the world's largest plasma screen television.
Available at an eye-popping HK$6.8 million, the full HD and 3-D ready set was originally designed by Panasonic for industrial use. Recently, however, it has been wowing audiences in the home-theatre department. Equivalent to nine 50-inch screens, the set's cutting-edge technology is on par if not superior to a typical movie-going experience. Unlike the flimsy 3-D specs used at cinemas, these batteryoperated "active glasses" are futuristic and communicate with a wireless transmitter. Once worn, a fast-moving shutter opens and closes screening images to the left eye then the right eye, continuously alternating between the two. "The speed is faster than the human eye so you cannot see the movement," says Ben Yu, account executive at Panasonic distributor Shun Hing Electronic Trading.
The result is razor-sharp image quality and an unparalleled illusion of depth. Panasonic describes the effect as "an immersive experience" which "allows [you] to feel as if you were part of the scene." Luxury store Harrods agrees, where the sets have been selling since March. Working on such a large scale - two have also been installed at Osaka train station in Japan - Panasonic engineers had to ramp-up the resolution. "Otherwise it's like watching a low-resolution VCD on a 50- or 60-inch TV, it wouldn't be clear enough," says Yu. As a result, the set produces four times more detail than regular HD panel plasma and boasts 4K2K resolution (4,096 x 2,160 pixels).
Plasma sets are back in vogue with their cinema-quality richer blacks and vivid colours. "Even the pros think colours appear better on plasma than LCD," says Yu. Try asking Scarlett. For this budget you could pay her to act in your living room.