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High-definition TV (HDTV) is making its way into mobile video, even before digital broadcasting is widely available for the 12-volt market.
Rosen, Icon TV and Accele unveiled at CES various forms of HDTVs that scan at 1,080 interlaced scanning lines (1,080i) or 720 progressive scanning lines (720p). Digital TVs in general, may also scan at 480 progressive lines, which is called enhanced-definition TV (EDTV).
Mobile-video leader Audiovox said it is looking into digital TV for the car, but product manager David Shalam notes there are few digital TV sources for the car at present. KVH is perhaps the only car-satellite TV system up and running. It has shipped 1,700 systems to date at approximately $3,500 each. A similar system from Winegard at $3,000 is expected to reach the market at the end of the second quarter. (See story, below).
Icon-TV however says it will deliver the first progressive-scan DVD player for the car in early February. The player will offer HDTV up-conversion to produce images at 1,080i or 720p. At the same time, Icon will ship a true HDTV monitor capable of 1,080i. The 10.5-inch overhead monitor is expected to carry a suggested retail price of $1,999 and the DIN-sized progressive-scan DVD player will weigh in at $700.
"We already have OEM accounts such as Lexus and BMW who want HDTV," said Icon-TV sales manager Alberto Laraia.
Analog TV delivers 480 interlaced lines that move from one image to the next by intertwining one image with the next image. Progressive-scan EDTV or HDTV does not intermesh pictures but delivers one full-screen image, followed by another for a clearer picture.
There is still some debate over the viewing quality of HDTV in the car environment. Accele president Allen Arzoumanian claims that a monitor must be 15 inches or larger in order for viewers to see a difference between analog and digital TV. Accele showed at CES a 30-inch HDTV designed for Hummers, buses and RVs that can handle up to 1,080i. The monitor has a TV tuner, PIP function and a bright 450 NIT picture at $4,500, said Accele.
Rosen's new HDTV model was first unveiled at the SEMA show here in November and is now shipping. It is a 15.3-inch overhead widescreen under the Necvox brand with 1,280 by 768 resolution. It has 450 NIT brightness, compared with most car video screens which are under 300 NIT, said the company, claiming it offers improved color and off-axis viewing. Other features include MP3/WAV capability and JPEG photo and MPEG motion-video viewing for home movies. The monitor has a suggested list price of $1,899. A version with built-in DVD player has a suggested retail price of $2,399.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.