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Panasonic’s “Half-Million Dollar TV

This isn’t a tele­vi­sion as it is more of a movie the­ater in the side of your house.  Your own “drive-thru movie” if it were.

If that 55-inch TV set you bought last year sud­denly doesn’t mea­sure up to your game-day fan­tasies, con­sider this Super Bowl-size alter­na­tive: A 152-inch one, yours for a cool half-million. That’s the price tag on Panasonic’s model TH-152UX1, billed as the “world’s largest, 4K2K plasma dis­play” (we’ll get to that 4K2K part in a minute). The set is indeed a mas­sive one — equiv­a­lent to nine 50-inch screens and weigh­ing in at a whop­ping 1,272 pounds. (For one instal­la­tion at a restau­rant, a fork­lift was used to put the TV in place.) But Pana­sonic says it’s not just about size: It’s also about pic­ture qual­ity — the 4K2K refers to the res­o­lu­tion — mean­ing 4,096 by 2,160 pix­els. In other words, it can deliver four times the res­o­lu­tion of a stan­dard high-definition set, says Rick Albert, a Pana­sonic vice pres­i­dent. Albert adds that the res­o­lu­tion is key for com­mer­cial pur­poses, such as using the set to dis­play graph­ics or charts at a large gath­er­ing — indeed, the set’s tar­get mar­ket is the busi­ness crowd, not the high-end homeowner.

But Pana­sonic will sell to indi­vid­u­als as well — in fact, the set, which was first intro­duced in 2009, got a lot of buzz when Har­rods, the famed British luxury-goods retailer, start­ing offer­ing it. Pana­sonic won’t give sales fig­ures — and by the way that $500,000 price doesn’t include instal­la­tion — but the com­pany reveals that the sets are going every­where from bars and restau­rants to the 39th floor of an office build­ing. Put another way, there’s big busi­ness in really, really big TVs. “Sales of the 152 have exceeded our expec­ta­tions,” says Albert.

Most eye health experts say you really don’t need any­thing big­ger than 40″ to 80″ TV if you’re view­ing it from your couch five to ten feet away.

How the hell one could even jus­tify hav­ing such a mon­stros­ity in their home — or should I say tak­ing up a wall in your home — is a leap of faith.  Just to give an idea of how big 152-inches is, that’s 12 and two-thirds feet diagonally.

If there is such a thing as “Too much TV,” I do believe this is it.

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