As if the LCD HDTV market isn't crowded enough (having not thinned itself out like the plasma segment recently did), a new player is joining. The heretofore unknown EQD is throwing down the gauntlet when it comes to already depressed prices, claiming it will undersell the competition by 20 percent.
Its Auria line spans from 16-inch sets to 47-inch models, with a mishmash of 720p and 1080p resolutions. For example, the 16-inch and 19-inch Aurias are 1080p TVs, but the 26-inch and 32-inch ones are only 720pa head-scratcher, since the smaller the screen, the more difficult it is to notice 1080p's benefits. None of the spec sheets on the EQD Web site indicate whether any of the sets have 120Hz refresh rates, but given the company's value orientation, it's doubtful. Most Aurias have two HDMI ports, which is a little stingy even for a bargain set these days. One feature in the company's favor: a two-year warranty, instead of the single year that rivals like Vizio and Westinghouse provide. EQD will also donate an unspecified amount of its profits to charities like the Armed Forces Foundation and Miracles for Kids.
The Auria line will begin cropping up at online retailers like Amazon.com, Buy.com, and Newegg in March or April. In this economy, aiming as low as possible when it comes to price is going to be a big advantage, though more discerning viewers will want to find out how well EQD's sets perform before rolling the dice on an unproven new company.