Hardware Spotlight - Zenith 50-inch Plasma Monitor
By Ron Goldberg
Zenith has embarked on an aggressive campaign to establish itself as a key brand of the DTV age. Most consumers (and probably most professionals) don't realize what a pivotal role the company played in the technical development of HDTV, not to mention other TV milestones like the remote control. The company's new 50-inch plasma display, the P50W26, bids to appeal to both the consumer and custom installer markets by a combination of performance, styling and value. In a crowded market, it offers C-tailers an interesting option for their customers.
The P50W26 is a 50-inch widescreen display with a native resolution of 1366x768p. It will also scale video pictures into PC formats without cropping or distortion, courtesy of a Faroudja/Sage circuit, and can be rotated into a vertical position as a computer display, useful for Web pages and the like. In addition to NTSC and HD video, it will display VGA, SVGA, XGA and SXGA.
An aspect ratio correction feature intelligently scales images to 4:3 or 16:9 shapes. The company's specification for brightness is rated at 620 cd per square meter, and the contrast ratio at 600:1. Pixel pitch is sized at 0.27 horizontal and 0.81 vertical, and the viewing angle is a wide 160 degrees.
In terms of connectivity, the P50W26 will accept one component video connection, one S-Video and one composite, in addition to two RGB connections, and an RS-232C control connection. For auxiliary use or computer applications, a pair of L-R audio inputs are provided, as well as 8-ohm speaker connections. Monitor dimensions are 48.2 inches wide, by 28.9 high and 4.1 inches deep, and it weighs in at just over 99 pounds. In terms of cosmetics, the unit is especially sleek, with narrow brushed silver framing that remains understated whether watching in a lit or a dark room.