If you have electronics envy for the big continent to the East, who can blame you. They already have 3D TV in Japan, and seemingly everyone in South Korea has broadband speeds that make ours look like dial-up. Salivating over the latest TV introductions in Asia is almost pointless, as it's hard to know when, if ever, we'll get to see these sets reach North America.
They tantalize us nonetheless. For instance, we now know more details about LG's new OLED HDTV, which will be a 15-inch model that will be released in Korea in November. Of course, a 15-inch screen seems like a relic if you're talking about a LCD computer monitor, but considering the only other commercially available OLED is the 11.1-inch Sony XEL-1, 15 inches is quite a bit bigger. Unfortunately, there's been no announcement about a US release date, and given that it's price tag would be at least $2,000and probably quite moreit may not even behoove the company to offer it here. Supposedly, LG is also working on a 40-inch OLED, but that would conceivably be priced at $10,000 if it ever sees the light of day.
Meanwhile, Japan will see some new sets from Hitachi with what would seem to be an inevitable feature: built-in hard drives. These new models will come with 500GB drives that can store up to 400 hours of high-definition programming. We're just seeing sets from Sharp in the US that come with built-in Blu-ray drives, so who knows what kind of a time line we could expect before a hard-drive-enabled set hit our shores. Hitachi is a minor player in our TV market, but introducing these sets here would be an interesting differentiator in a sea of similar HDTVs. (People could be free from paying for DVR services from their TV provider, a potentially popular prospect.) And if the company could produce some of its wilder designs for its Wooo series that it showed off at this year's CES, it could be a market leader. No doubt, we'll still stay have to stay tuned to Asia to find out if they'll ever roll the dice.