In his CEDIA cover story in the September issue, Residential Systems contributor Michael Heiss noted that EXPO would be the place to look for the latest developments in the mine is bigger than yours race between flat-panel manufacturers. While my eyes caught more “thin is in” products from display manufacturers and mounts providers, I expect the race for largest panel to come back into view at CES in January.
The topic of large flat panels came to mind again today when I was speaking to Chief Manufacturing’s Sara Schiffler who was on her way to visit a photo shoot of the installation of a 103-inch Panasonic plasma in Arizona. She wanted to be there, she said, to document the challenges facing an integrator (and homeowner) when attaching such a mammoth piece of video technology to the wall.
It should be interesting to learn from Sara just how many studs it takes to hang a 103-inch plasma. And when I say “studs,” I not talking about hunky custom installers… I’m talking about the ones behind the wall. In fact, I’m curious to know what sort of mounts are available for these admittedly limited-run large panel sizes. Most mounts, even the fixed variety, only go up to 65 inches. Time will tell us what Chief’s solution will look like.
For the time being, Panasonic continues to offer its 103-inch-wide plasma display and, as Mike Heiss says, “Sharps 108-inch-wide LCD has an actual market price, albeit one that is an order of magnitude larger than the Panasonic, will having the bragging rights to ‘this is the largest panel you can buy’ have some traction with clients?” It remains to be seen whether or not Panasonic will fight back with an announcement of pricing and availability for its extraordinary 150-inch PDP shown at CES, but not seen since?
More challenges may still come for leading video mounts manufacturers, who always seem to find a way to make a better mousetrap.