by Jin S. Kim
According to a ZDNet article titled “16:9 wide-screen looks narrow-minded compared to Philips Cinema 21:9 HDTV” written by Sean Portnoy, the 21:9 aspect ratio Philips Cinema 21:9 will not be US bound: Sean reports a Philips spokesperson confirmed on January 30, 2009 that the ultrawide set targeted to film buffs will not be made available in the US. That’s not surprising because it really isn’t Philips’ decision to make its TVs available in the US; it is Funai’s decision because Funai bought the Philips brand to market TVs in the US.
Nearly all larger LCD TVs sport an aspect ratio of 16:9. So that hasn’t been a differentiator for quite some time. TV brands have used LED backlighting, higher color gamut, size, 1080p capability, local dimming, backlight scanning, 120Hz, 240Hz, thin chassis and bezels, etc. to make their TVs stand out from the competition. But nearly all high-end LCD TVs have nearly all of these state-of-the-art technologies. Philips has done something remarkable in my opinion: the company changed the playing field by modifying what was common place into something special. If you want to compete at the very high end it seems you’ll need to bust out a LCD TV sporting an aspect ratio of 21:9. Sony, Sharp, Samsung, LG, Panasonic… let’s see what you guys can come up with.