12 Jaw-Dropping Flat Panels From CES 2010

3-D movies have long been ridiculed as the height of Hollywood gimmickry. Remember Jaws 3? (also known as Jaws 3-D). Yea, didn't think so.

But in spite of its inglorious history, 3-D is having a renaissance these days. The mega-blockbuster hit Avatar is showing that people are willing to don hokey looking 3-D glasses if the content is worthy of their attention. At CES 2010, flat panel displays that support 3-D were everywhere, serving as evidence that the technology is poised to make inroads in the home entertainment market.

The word 'obscene,' as defined by Merriam-Webster, means "so excessive as to be offensive." That's also an apt description of Panasonic's new 152-inch 3D HDTV, which attracted a large, pushy crowd to Panasonic's booth and inspired many awestruck, muttered oaths from onlookers.

This monstrosity features 4000 x 2000 resolution and self-illuminating plasma panels, which, according to Panasonic, are ideal for "rapid 3D image display." It's also ideal for home contractors, whose wall-removal services will be needed by anyone thinking of buying this flat panel, which measures around 7 feet high by 14 feet long. Panasonic isn't offering it to consumers yet, nor is it talking about how much it costs.

At CES 2010, Samsung unveiled its latest line of LED flat panel HDTVs, led by the deliciously designed LED9000. With a pencil-thin thickness of .3 inches, this 55-inch-bundle of TV viewing bliss was easily the most impressive flat panel at this year's event.

In addition to converting 2D television to 3D on the fly, LED9000 viewers can actually watch live television on a screen embedded in the television's remote control while they're watching Blu-Ray movies on the television itself. This may not be the most necessary feature ever created, but it's certainly one of the coolest. Samsung's LED9000 will be available this year at a yet-to-be-divulged price.

In addition to having one of the most visually stunning floor spaces at CES 2010, Samsung also unveiled an app store through which developers will be able to build applications that run on its stunningly well designed flat panel displays. In an age when everyone wants to be the platform for home entertainment, it's a telling move on Samsung's part.

"There will soon be dozens of apps that you'll access through a push button on your remote," said Tim Baxter, president of Samsung America, in a press conference at CES 2010. "Developers, if you thought it was fun building apps for three-inch phone screens, I have a 55-inch LED television I'd like to show you."

LG at CES 2010 showed off its Infinia LE9500, a 55-inch display that features a blazing refresh rate of 480Hz, supports 3D television playback, and uses LG's "magic wand" remote, which uses functionality similar to that of Nintendo's Wii console.

When the LE9500 hits the market this spring, LG will stake its claim in the fast growing market for flat panel LED 3D HDTV displays that make people drool with envy and never want to leave their homes. LG's floor space was just as dazzling as Samsung's, and the two vendors look poised for a competition for eyeballs that may ultimately make people forget about the existence of fresh air and the outdoors.

LG also showed off its 55 inch full LED "ultra-slim," a prototype flat panel with a depth of just 6.9 millimeters. This product isn't launching anytime soon, but did serve as evidence that there's plenty more on the way in LG's R&D pipeline.

Sharp's LE920 Aquos LED LCD television comes in 68-inch, 60-inch, and 52-inch models and is optimized for fast-moving video with built-in technology that eliminates blur and artifacts. Sharp plans to launch the LE920 in May but has yet to specify pricing, although it's safe to say that these won't be available in the bargain bin at your local Best Buy.

China-based TCL Corp. is little known in the U.S. But at CES 2010, the vendor was all about 3-D HDTVs, and this 46-inch model gave an accurate representation of all the technology can bring to the viewing experience. By offering 3-D glasses to everyone who passed, TCL's show floor reps were evangelizing 3-D in a way that bodes well for their ability to compete in this fast developing market.

Toshiba gave CES 2010 attendees a peek of what's to come with its 1920 x 1080p full HD flat panel, which features resolution of 3840 x 2160p. But the star of the show was Toshiba's Cell TV processor, which up-converts 2D televised content to 3D on the fly and gives a dramatic boost to the computing power of conventional televisions.

An early 3-D pioneer, Sony has been steadily building its 3-D hardware and content portfolio. At CES 2010, Sony unveiled a sleek new line of 3-D enabled Bravia flat panel televisions that attracted throngs of curious CES attendees to its floor space for a better look. These flat panels are so well designed that they look impressive even when the power is turned off.

Sony's Bravia HX Performance line of flat panels emphasize the cinematic elements of the viewing experience as opposed to the Internet-connected ones, and showcase in stunning fashion how far 3-D display technology has progressed in a relatively short time. The mind boggles to consider how much more advanced the technology could be in just a couple years' time.

China-based Hisense lacked the flashiness of the better known flat panel vendors, but the company brought a line of impressive products to the show, such as this 55-inch LED backlight 3D TV. Hisense Chairman Zhou Houjian became the first head of a Chinese company to deliver a keynote in the 43-year history of CES.