We're hunkering down for Hitachi's CES press conference, but there's no air of mystery in the air: two huge walls are decorated with "1.5" emblems, and we're surrounded by about 20 of the displays -- including a series of the 1.5-inch thick LCDs on a huge sort of staircase. Very surreal. We should be getting started any second now.
12:04PM - There's a criminal shortage of seating, so most people are lining the aisle next to the Hitachi booth in order to catch the action.
12:09PM - And here we go. "Thank you for your patience." Starting off with an opening video. Well, sort of. The 1.5 displays are sort of dancing for us, very evocatively. Video ends with "1.5 is here."
12:10PM - Mr. Monotone MC gives the floor to the President of Hitachi America, whose name we cannot spell. "Americans are always looking for something exciting." He sounds pretty bored with the whole idea, but hopes we'll enjoy what Hitachi has to announce.
12:14PM - Next up is another name we missed, but at least he's got some product to talk about. "We're announcing our new thin plasmas today." "We are now presenting our merchandised products to be sold tomorrow." It's a little difficult to follow the broken English, but he's certainly talking about skinny TVs.
12:17PM - "The cooling system used in this TV is based on mainframe computer cooling systems."
"We believe it's difficult for other companies to compete with the technologies we have."
12:20PM - Now it's Kevin Sullivan. He's a bit self-congratulating on the standing room only crowd... maybe next time Hitachi can bring some chairs.
"This product is going to take Hitachi to new levels of recognition."
"Products that are unique in design and make a fashion statement... this product exemplifies that better than any other."
12:21PM - "Thin is in this year... but we're going to make it even thinner going forward, and our goal is to establish Hitachi as the global ultra thin leader."
12:22PM - Here's Daniel Lee from marketing to talk about product. "This is for me the most exciting CES, because we've got tremendous announcements, as you can see in front of you."
"We're creating a new era, new category of flat panel display."
"First and foremost is the Ultra Thin... in the marketplace in Q1 2008. Three sizes: 32, 37 and 42-inch. 1.5 is the thinness of the product, but also the brand name in the market."
12:24PM - Showing off a 1.5-inch thick plasma in the back room, which will be available in 2009.
Hitachi is going up-market to hit up affluent customers with high-end product.
"Hitachi is introducing the only complete line of ultra thin displays here at CES."
Another guy is up telling the history of the display. Thrilling stuff.
And that's it, kind of an abrupt ending, but we'd certainly say Hitachi got its message across.