A Japanese company founded by the inventor of the plasma display panel (PDP) is ready to start offering high-definition screens far bigger than anything seen before. Initial 142-inch displays are likely to be followed by 270-inch models before long.

Shinoda Plasma - run by Tsutae Shinoda, who invented the PDP when working at Fujitsu - will start producing 142-inch screens early next year based on a technology known as plasma tube array (PTA).

1m building blocks

The PTA manufacturing method involves creating large screens by connecting several 1m squares. Each smaller PTA unit consists of plasma-filled tubes sandwiched between control electrodes on both sides, making them similar to PDPs in operation but considerably lighter.

Shinoda says the first production run of 142-inch PTA screens will support 720p video, have a contrast ratio of 10,000:1 and will weigh 60kg when supplied to TV set makers in the second half of 2008. According to the company website, 270-inch displays are next on the agenda.

As for pricing, the company can say only that it will supply the screens to TV manufacturers for "tens of millions of yen" each, which equates to hundreds of thousands of pounds at a time.

However, considering that Shinoda will make only 10 PTA screens next year and 100 or so in 2009, it's hardly likely that we'll ever get to see them anyway.