By the time you read this, one or maybe even a clutch of flat-panel manufacturers will have showcased Plasma and Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD) screens measuring 120-odd inches diagonally (that’s 10 feet). Don’t think it isn’t possible: Sharp has a commercially available Aquos, which measures a not inconsiderable 108 inches diagonally. Compared with the bog standard 21-inch TV found in homes half a decade ago, these gargantuan machines are almost six times bigger.
Why should this matter to you? Trickle down. It’s like the space programme. Utterly impractical but with side benefits for normal people. Because the larger screens get, the cheaper it becomes to buy the smaller ones. In other words, you can get a bigger screen for the same money. Recently, LG Electronics took out an advert hawking their current high-end (and frankly excellent) 42-inch Jazz LCD TV for around Rs 66,000. Now, prices fall, but high-end LCD TVs at that size cost a lakh at the start of 2008, and now you can easily get a 50-inch television for the same sum. That’s eight inches in a year. That’s growth.
You may not want something quite so massive to dominate your living room. And even if you do like to watch your cricket on a supersize screen, you need to sit at a distance before you can see the whole thing in focus. But let’s not knock the march of the mammoth TVs. Bigger screens for airports and crazy people might actually make for cheaper small screens for the rest of us. And that is not such a bad deal.