IFA: The First 200-Hz LCD TVs Are Here! But From Who?

By  |  Friday, August 29, 2008 at 6:46 am

I’ve been spending the day at IFA, the giant consumer electronics show in Berlin that’s Europe’s equivalent of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. I’m having a good time, but one conclusion I’ve drawn so far is that CES has the edge when it comes to major announcements about flashy new technologies and jaw-dropping specs. CES isn’t CES without stuff like the world’s first OLED TV or world’s thinnest LCD or the world’s largest plasma. IFA, however, seems to be dominated by more mainstream products and technologies that are cool, but not cutting-edge. You could argue that that’s a good thing, since very few of us will buy the first OLED TV or biggest LCD or thinnest plasma. But it does make for a somewhat more subdued show.

One exception: There’s plenty of hoopla about the first 200-Hz LCD TVs, which run at a faster frame rate to provide smoother action with less motion blur. The company that’s first to market with this breakthrough is justly proud about it. Here’s a snapshot I took in Sony’s booth:

..and here’s one from Samsung’s booth:

Yup–both companies are claiming credit for being the first. (Sony and Samsung share some LCD production, which might explain the synchronicity here.) The dualing firsts kind of point out the silliness of specsmanship in general: Ultimately, it doesn’t matter much which company was first and which one was second. Unless, of course, you’re talking about marketing campaigns. (“The World’s Second 200-Hz TV” just doesn’t have the same ring.)

Is 200-Hz worth getting excited about? The jury’s still out. Samsung has a demo that showed 50-Hz vs. 200-Hz, but it was so obviously rigged that it wasn’t a useful data point: The 50-Hz video was more flickery than a Charlie Chaplin film. I didn’t see any similar comparison at Sony’s both. Both 50-Hz TVs did, indeed, display extremely smooth imagery, but I learned a long time ago not to pay much attention to TV demos at trade shows, since they almost always look gorgeous. What will matter is how much better 200-Hz looks with real-world data sources like cable and satellite TV and standard-def DVDs and Blu-Ray discs almost nobody ever uses those sources when showing off sexy new technologies.

More IFA tidbits to come, and full disclosure: I’m attending the show as a paid speaker at several panels.


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5 Comments For This Post

  1. Alan Says:

    Well at this point I think I’ll still go for the 120-hz models. I imagine the 200-hz will be pricey for awhile.

  2. johney Says:

    sounds interresting but ,m allready happy with 100hz,i dit,nt even have experience 120 hz,to make worse matters,most lcd screens on the market are shamelessly 50hz will plasma and even the latest crt tv,s were just 100hz, so what,s the point?i just tout that mine lcdscreen was 100hz but no.
    as what i know is 200hz plammouse use a much much more smoother picture by 4 times doubling the amount of frames by creating new frames from existing frames from 50 hz sources.
    in that case, they also could create 240hz for ntsc standards
    and do the same as 200hz does with pal!!!
    but it would very expenxive,and to make it more complicated the oled & laser tv have to be released yet.
    we will have along time to go till the perfect tv is there.

  3. Matthew B Says:

    I saw my first 200 Hz LCD TV yesterday on a visit to a local shopping centre. I’m not planning on changing my TV yet (which is just as well, given the price tag for this latest bit of Sony kit), but this is the first LCD TV I’ve seen where motion blur is as good as (or maybe better than) my trusty 9-year-old 50 Hz Sony Trinitron. If my present TV can keep going long enough for 200 Hz to fall within my budget, then this is certainly my preferred option at the moment.

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    […] “world’s first” 200Hz LCD TV Posted on September 7, 2008 by Brad Fortner Harry McCracken’s blog post dated August 29th, day speaks of his day at IFA. IFA is a giant consumer electronics show in Berlin […]

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