CES – Day 3: Thin is in

As America has been gearing up towards the digital TV handover on February 19 (which may now be delayed if Obama gets his way), the obsession at CES over the past few years has been bigger is better in HDTVs. Panasonic is currently the king of the kill with a mammoth 150 inch LCD screen (so huge, it needs it’s own cargo plane and a team of technicians to ship and install). But along with the Ballmer era at Microsoft, 2009 represents a new change as “thin” is now in for HDTV design. It’s been coming since last year as OLED technology has matured. But now, it’s out in the open and proud of it. Thin is in and everyone is vying for the thinnest, lightest HDTV. And who’s topping the profile mountain at the moment? Panasonic again with a plasma TV that’s 1/3 of an inch thick.

It makes sense. After all, there comes a point of diminishing returns where the technology just can’t push the envelope in a set direction. Manufacturers found that out with Pentium 4 chips that hit a speed wall prompting a shift to dual and quad core configurations to get around the problem. Now, with the prevailing attitude that the current size of LCDs is “good enough,” HDTV makers are turning towards the next size constraint. And thinner TVs make easier installation on the wall, use less energy (by some accounts 1/3 les) and could potentially turn TVs into less appliance and more art. That’s right, form may indeed trump function here. And if TVs go on a diet, will computer monitors, cameras and cell phones be that far behind? With flexible OLED screens it’s sure to catch the fever.

So thin, is the new big. Hey, as long as the clarity and color is there, I’m in.

Hat tip – The Giz