You may remember the excitement surrounding Philips' HDTV with a 21:9 aspect ratio -- excitement that dissipated when it became apparent that the company had no plans to sell it in the United States. But U.S. film buffs' prayers have been answered, as Vizio is introducing not one, but two 21:9 sets, as part of its 2011 HDTV lineup.
Dubbed the Cinema HDTV line, Vizio's pair of ultra-wide sets will come in 50-inch and 58-inch flavors and will be LED-backlit LCDs. Why the fuss about 21:9? Basically, the 16:9 aspect ratio of most HDTVs doesn't match the aspect ratio of many movies, which are shot at a 2.35:1 or 2.39:1 ratio. While 16:9 works out to 1.78:1, 21:9 equals 2.37:1, or 2,560x1,080 resolution.
Obviously, these aren't the sets to buy if you do a lot of regular TV watching (whether in standard or high definition), but Vizio must think there are enough cinema fanatics that are coveting a wider view to put these into production. Though pricing and availability aren't known yet, Vizio's commitment to the format is evidenced by the fact that the company will be demoing a 71-inch 21:9 set during private meetings at CES.