Mitsubishi has announced that it will ship a 65″ LaserVue laser TV starting in the third quarter of this year, with a 73″ model to follow. Now, the third quarter officially starts on Tuesday and ends on September 30th, but I’ll be stunned if we see any shipments before Labor Day. This does imply that these models will be available for the holiday buying season this year, but we’ve heard those promises before.
Even if Mitsubishi should meet this target ship date, is it too little, too late? A press release from Mitsubishi claims that the new sets use about half as much power as an LCD and about one third as much as a plasma. These are impressive claims, but other reports indicate that the 65″ model will be rated at 200 watts. Now we’re talking. A 47″ LCD HDTV can be rated at 250 watts or higher. And the new Vizio 32″ plasma HDTV (well, almost-720p-HDTV) is also rated at 250 watts. So here’s a laser TV with four times the screen area of the Vizio plasma, yet rated at at 20% less power consumption. That’s noteworthy.
Unfortunately, none of the reports mention price. If the LaserVue costs as much as an equivalent plasma HDTV, I don’t think they’re going to sell many units. It’s not enough to be green; if it’s not a flat panel, you’re going to have to make a compelling price argument. So the big questions outstanding for LaserVue are how much it will cost, and when will it really ship?