Concerns about short supplies of 32″ LCD panels for HDTVs continue to grow, and plasma panels are hoping for the opportunity to fill the gap with inexpensive plasma models. Original intended for the growing consumer markets in China and India, some brands including Proview are reportedly eying the U.S. market for low cost plasma sets.
This development is not surprising, but I fear that it will lead to a lot of disappointed consumers. 32″ is not large for a wide screen television in the first place. But one detail that is lost in many of these reports is that the 32″ LCD models are high definition, but the 32″ plasma models almost certainly will not be HDTVs. It is difficult and expensive to make high resolution plasma panels, and the costs and complications increase as the panels get smaller. As a result, the new plasma models are almost certain to be EDTV resolution: a wide version of the standard resolution. LG’s 32PC5RV that was recently released in Brazil has 852 by 480 pixel resolution.
I expect that a lot of buyers only will see “flat” and “plasma” and “TV” and not look any further. I suppose that since about half the people with HDTVs still don’t have any HDTV content to show on their sets, perhaps most of the people who buy these 32″ plasmas won’t notice that they aren’t getting an HDTV. But they are likely to be disappointed when they discover that they got a lot less than their neighbor’s truly HD 32″ LCD TV.