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SED up close and personal

SED up close and personal
Kevin C. Tofel
Kevin C. Tofel|January 8, 2006 1:50 PM
Filled with anticipation, we waited in line with the entire Las Vegas population to see Toshiba's SED display technology in action. Props to Engadget reader, Maurice from Beantown, for helping sneak us in a little quicker. That solved one prob, but the "no photo" rule became a bigger one. Undaunted, we quickly hit up the Canon booth since they co-developed SED displays with Tosh. The Tosh presentation was longer, but Canon let us take a snap in the dark. What's up with the scan line? We kinda figured that with a gazillion little electron emitters we wouldn't see any more of those, but hey, live and learn, right? No more pics but we have high-def emotions that SED elicited galore.

The SED display sets were 32-inches showing a 720p pic, but the production units later this year will be 55-inches in full 1080p. Even with the the 720p source material during the 12-minute presentation, the SED picture rivaled, or even exceeded some of the 1080p displays we scanned this week. The demo highlighted features like brightness, contrast, depth and color. Probably the best way to describe something this visual is to think back to when you first saw HDTV. Remember the impact it had on you and the jump you saw in picture quality? That's what SED feels like; it's like making the jump from SDTV to HDTV all over again. It's that good.

Toshiba and Canon clearly demonstrated that you could perceive an object's texture; if we could use the word "tactile" to describe the view, we would. Oh heck, we just did. Items like strawberries, flowers, grass and ribbons made you believe that they were really there and that you could actually reach out and feel the texture. Clearly, the experience is difficult to describe. As far as contrast, there were dozens of examples that would test even the current CRTs on the market. Various scenes with shadows demonstrated that details were not lost in the darker areas.

Like many technologies of near-distant future, details we'd love to have are out of focus. We don't know the pricing yet, but we do know that SED is one of the most exciting display technologies that we've seen in some time. As the new year unfolds, we're looking for additional opps to get some good eyeball scans on these. Most importantly: if the pic was that good with a 720p format, we simply can't wait to see a signal with 1,080 lines. Hm, "PlayStation 3 on my SED" has a nice sound to it, no?