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Microtek Pumps Out the Plasmas

Microtek Lab, Inc. has announced two new lines of high-definition plasma displays aimed at the video enthusiast and home theater markets, respectively—but aside from the branding on the 42-inch and 50-inch units (one’s labeled Microtek and the other Cineon) and (of course) the price tags, you might have trouble telling them apart.

The Microtek branded displays are dubbed MHP1-HDI and the P50TX1A, the former being 42 inches and the latter 50 inches. Both sport silver cases and offer ATSC and NTSC tuner inputs, along with composite (2), component, S-video (2), VGA, and HDMI input, and support resolutions from 480i up to 1080i. The 42-inch MHP1-HDI sports a 1,024 by 768 native resolution (although the specs say 1,366 by 768 pixels), 1,300 cd/m2 brightness, a nice 10,000:1 contrast ratio, and a 173° viewing angle. The larger 50-inch offers an un-contradicted 1,366 by 768 resolution, 1,000 cd/m2 brightness, and 8,000:1 contrast ratio with the same 173° viewing angle. Both sets feature detachable 10-watt speakers and will be available with optional wall mounts. Prices: $1,499.99 for the MHP1-HDI and $1,999.99 for the P50TX1A; the company plans to show them at CES next week.

Moving over to the "Cineon" line, we’ll see the same 42-inch and 50-inch sizes, along with the same input options, brightness, contrast ratios, confused native resolutions, and viewing angles we saw in the units above—the difference seems to be that these go by the CP42HA and CP50HA model numbers, are available with piano black bezels, and will carry $1,599.99 and $2,199.99 price tags, respectively. "The Cineon high-definition plasma flat-panel TVs from Microtek are gorgeous," said Microtek product manager Parker Plaisted. "These HDTVs deliver outstanding picture quality that is tunable to each individual home-theater environment. And the slim elegant piano-black case compliments the screen by evoking an impression of framed art." Surely that’s worth a couple hundred dollars extra—even if you still don’t get 1080p!