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Panasonic Launches $500K 152inch 4K2K Plasma

February 3, 2013 | Telepresence Options

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By Charles Passy, Market Watch

The pitch

If that 55-inch TV set you bought last year suddenly doesn't measure up to your game-day fantasies, consider this Super Bowl-size alternative: A 152-inch one, yours for a cool half-million. That's the price tag on Panasonic's model TH-152UX1, billed as the "world's largest, 4K2K plasma display" (we'll get to that 4K2K part in a minute). The set is indeed a massive one -- equivalent to nine 50-inch screens and weighing in at a whopping 1,272 pounds. (For one installation at a restaurant, a forklift was used to put the TV in place.) But Panasonic says it's not just about size: It's also about picture quality -- the 4K2K refers to the resolution -- meaning 4,096 by 2,160 pixels. In other words, it can deliver four times the resolution of a standard high-definition set, says Rick Albert, a Panasonic vice president. Albert adds that the resolution is key for commercial purposes, such as using the set to display graphics or charts at a large gathering -- indeed, the set's target market is the business crowd, not the high-end homeowner. See: 10 things the Super Bowl won't tell you

But Panasonic will sell to individuals as well -- in fact, the set, which was first introduced in 2009, got a lot of buzz when Harrods, the famed British luxury-goods retailer, starting offering it. Panasonic won't give sales figures -- and by the way that $500,000 price doesn't include installation -- but the company reveals that the sets are going everywhere from bars and restaurants to the 39th floor of an office building. Put another way, there's big business in really, really big TVs. "Sales of the 152 have exceeded our expectations," says Albert.

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