Panasonic's new line of LCD projection TVs are featuring a new technology--called LIFI--that Panasonic is claiming will eliminate the need for lamp replacement. Since today's LCD and DLP projection sets often need to have their bulb replaced after 3-5 years--and the bulbs cost several hundred dollars--LIFI technology could get remove one of the major drawbacks to projection TVs. We have seen ultralong bulb-life from projection TVs on Samsung's HL-S5679W, which was the first DLP HDTV to use an LED light source. The HL-S5679W claimed its bulb lasted for 20,000 hours, which means it virtually never needs to be replaced. The other advantage that Panasonic is claiming for its LIFI technology is faster start-up times--under 10 seconds to get an image on the screen. Unfortunately, they didn't mention how long it takes to get to full brightness, which we feel is a more important metric.
The LIFI technology is used on two new TV series. The LCX70 series features two models: the 56-inch PT-56LCX70 and the 61-inch PT-61LCX70. Both of these models are 720p sets, which means they have a native resolution of 1,280x720 pixels. Its jack pack is highlighted by three HDMI inputs (one front, two rear) and a PC input. There was no pricing announced for the LCX70 series, but they should be available in April.
The LCZ70 series is a step up and also uses the LIFI technology. It consists of three models--the 50-inch PT-50LCZ70, the 56-inch PT-56LCZ70 and the 61-inch PT-61LCZ70--all of which feature glossy black styling. They're also all 1080p TVs, which means they have native resolution of 1,920x1,080 pixels and can display all the detail of the highest resolution HD-DVD and Blu-ray discs. Their connectivity is highlighted by three HDMI inputs (one front, two rear), as well as a PC input. There was no pricing announced for the LCZ70 series, but they should be available in May. Due to the April release dates, we suspect that neither series will feature HDMI 1.3.