15 Budget-Busting Flat-Panel Televisions From CES 2011

Flat-Panel Televisions Take Over CES 2011

It’s no secret that people in general watch way too much television, particularly here in the U.S. where couch potato-ism is a nationwide affliction. That said, the flat panel televisions on display at CES 2011 were stunning reminders of how fast things are moving in this technology sector. More than just televisions, big screen flat panels are capable of bringing more detailed images of the outside world into living rooms than ever before. They’re expensive, and most aren’t even available yet, but flat panel televisions are truly a sight to behold, and here CRN offers some of more impressive models from the CES show floor.

Samsung Makes Its Presence Felt

Seems like Samsung's booth at CES gets bigger every year and even more packed to the gills with flat-panel televisions. But this year, Samsung had a lot more to show off, including new 3-D camcorders that work with the company's forthcoming line of 3-D televisions, and the Galaxy Tab, which is starting to look like it might be capable of knocking the iPad off its lofty perch in the tablet space.

One glance at the Samsung CES booth -- which is actually more like its own self-contained mini-conference hall -- made it abundantly clear to attendees that Samsung isn't messing around. In the competition for eyeballs and mind-share that CES traditionally represents, Samsung was aggressive in all the right ways and garnered the lion's share of attention.

Samsung Apparently Dislikes Bezels

Samsung's new D7000 flat-panel television line comes in sizes ranging from 46 inches to 60 inches and includes the thinnest of bezels. Instead, what you get is a dazzling abundance of viewing space. The D7000 also has the unique distinction of being just as attractive when it's turned off as when it's on. It won't be available until later this year, and Samsung hasn't revealed pricing yet, but it's a good bet that whatever the cost, people will make all sorts of financial justifications for getting one into their living rooms.

75 Inches Of HD 3-D LED Goodness -- And Thinness

Samsung showed off what it says is the world's first 75-inch 3-D LED Display, a prototype that isn't likely to hit the market anytime soon, if at all. The wafer-thinness of this 75-inch display is its most arresting feature, and CES attendees were seen walking around it to catch the most awe-inspiring angles. This flat panel amounts to a public flexing of technological muscle, a shot across the bow of rivals such as Panasonic, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba and LG, and a powerful example of where things stand inside Samsung's R&D labs.

HD 3-D In Your Face

The frontal view of Samsung's 75-inch 3-D LED Display is just as breathtaking. Watching "Lord Of The Rings" on this television would probably cause fans of the trilogy to keel over in a state of intoxicated bliss. About the only criticism one could level at this display is that its bezel is a bit larger than some of Samsung's other ones. And when you get to this level of splitting hairs, you're obviously talking about a pretty impressive product.

Toshiba Sheds 3-D Glasses With New Flat Panel

Some industry observers believe that 3-D flat-panel technology will remain a niche play until manufacturers figure out a way to provide the 3-D viewing experience without making folks wear hokey-looking glasses. Toshiba's 65-inch glasses-free flat panel comes with resolution of 4,096 x 2,160 pixels and uses parallax barrier technology to deliver the 3-D viewing experience.

Toshiba's initial foray into the glasses-free realm of 3-D displays is still a concept at this point, and the viewer must be situated at precisely the right angle to get the full 3-D effect, but this is an interesting possible future direction for the technology. Toshiba says it plans to bring flat panels with the technology to market by year's end.

LG Steps Up Its Thin Flat-Panel Game

LG showed off an entire wall of 31-inch AMOLED televisions measuring just 2.9 millimeters, or about one-tenth of an inch, in thickness. To stand there and gape at the stunning demo reel was like a trip into the future, which it essentially is because it's not available yet. Still, these stunningly designed prototypes bode well for consumers who don't like big, clunky old flat panels taking up all their living room space. Who knows what they'll cost, but rumors were swirling that the low-end models will be priced starting at one arm and one leg.

Pushing Boundaries Of 'Smart' Televisions

LG's LW5700 line of 3-D LED flat panels feature full HD 1,080p resolution, a 10 million:1 dynamic contrast ratio, and Wi-Fi connectivity. It includes TruMotion 120Hz technology that's designed to deliver sports, video games and high-speed action with virtually no motion blur. Pricing isn't available yet, but these beauties will be hitting the market later this year, so it'd be a good idea to start saving your pennies now -- a few billion of them should do it.

Life Is Good

The frontal view of LG's stunning wall of 31-inch AMOLED televisions attracted a constant throng of CES attendees who could be observed silently imagining what it would be like to have one in their very own homes.

Panasonic Struts Its 3-D Flat-Panel Stuff

Panasonic set up a large wall of 3-D flat panels and gave demos of breathtaking video to CES attendees who were patient enough to spend 30 minutes waiting in line for the privilege. It was time well spent, though, as Panasonic has been banging the 3-D drum for some time and knows exactly what kind of video to show to illustrate the experience. Some folks were observed gingerly walking away from Panasonic's booth after being hit with minor, temporary bouts of 3-D-induced dizziness.

Panasonic's New IPTV Service

Panasonic at CES unveiled Viera Connect, a new IPTV service that lets customers personalize their television with a range of video-on-demand, gaming, social networking and fitness applications. The Viera Connect interface, shown here on a GT30 flat-panel television, provides access to Youtube, Netflix, live streaming services and gaming, social networking and fitness programs.

Sharp Pushes Envelope With New 70-Inch Flat Panel

Sharp unveiled its massive 70-inch Aquos Quattron LE732 flat-panel television at CES, which comes with Sharp’s proprietary X-Gen LCD panels and Quattron Quad Pixel Technology for the widest color palette, and also includes built-in Wi-Fi for Web video streaming. Full HD 1,080p image resolution and 120Hz refresh rate are also part of the package. It offers 62 percent more viewing area than Sharp's 55-inch models and is expected to be available later this year, although Sharp isn't talking pricing yet.

Skyworth Raises Its Profile

Skyworth, a Hong Kong-based firm that's not well known in the U.S., showed off its E60 line of LCD flat-panel televisions at CES. These include LED backlighting, 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, ultraslim design and are engineered to run in an energy-efficient manner. Although they're not yet available here, Skyworth's 42E60HR model is priced in China at around $1,050 based on current exchange rates.

Flat-Panel Vendor You've Never Heard Of

Broksonic, the name brand of New York City-based Hatzlachh Supply Inc., was one of the most mysterious companies to exhibit at CES this year, showing off new 32-inch and 42-inch LCD televisions. Not much more to say about Broksonic, although the company did attract an inordinate amount of attention by displaying a high-definition demo video of beach scenes in Rio De Janeiro that stretched the boundaries of a PG rating.

TCL's Eye-Friendly Flat Panels

Chinese manufacturer TCL Corp. was on hand to drum up interest in its X11 series of flat-panel televisions, which feature white LED backlighting that dramatically enhances color and dynamic contrast ratio. The X11 line also includes something TCL calls the Natural Light 2 Engine, which "improves the accuracy of backlight adjustment and greatly reduces stimulation and harm to users' eyes."

Haier Jumps On Google Android Bandwagon

Google reportedly put the kibosh on demos of Google TV at CES, but Chinese manufacturer Haier found a way around this restriction. Well, kind of. Haier showed off a 42-inch 1,080p HD LED flat-panel television that runs on Android 2.1 and allows users to navigate using a motion-sensing remote. Haier, the official television brand of the NBA, also offered CES attendees a look at its EV series, a high-end line that includes 42-inch, 46-inch and 55-inch models.