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Hitachi Introduces 1st DVD Camcorder, DLP

Although it wasn't an official CES exhibitor, Hitachi staged an offsite press conference to announce plans to introduce a one-chip HDTV-capable DLP rear-projector and the world's first DVD-RAM camcorder this year.

Details of the DLP projector, such as a model number and whether it will have a screen size of 53W" or 55W" were still being determined. However, Gary Bennett, Hitachi sales executive VP, said a product will be ready to ship this fall for less than $10,000, based on the new high-resolution 1,280 x 720 DLP chip.

The projector will display the 720p HDTV format in native resolution and will downconvert 1080i to meet the display's pixel count. The prototype used for demonstration purposes had a 48W" screen.

The company also introduced an LCD-based rear-projection set (model 52LDX99B) that will carry a $4,999 suggested retail price when it ships in February. The maximum resolution level of the unit is 800 x 600 pixels and up to a 38kHz scanning frequency, meaning it will accept up to a 1080i signal but will display it at substandard resolution.

Also announced was the CMP402-HDU 42" HD plasma-display panel with a 1,024 x 1,024-pixel resolution. The plasma screen is currently selling for $15,999 suggested retail through Hitachi's professional distribution channels. Plans are to offer the product for high-end home theater applications this spring.

The new DVD-RAM camcorder (model DZ-MV1), meanwhile, will use a 3" DVD packaged in a plastic caddy to protect data from handling. Bennett said the disc format will enable a user to record and erase images numerous times without degradation and allows movies to be archived from the caddy onto a full-size DVD-RAM disc, hard drive or even old-fashioned tape.

The 3" disc will store 3.7 GB for up to two hours of S-VHS-quality full-motion video and up to 2,000 still images. Resolution levels and storage capacity are variable.

A DVD-RAM deck is slated for 2001. The camcorder is due around the middle of the year at less than $2,000 retail, Bennett said.

Expanding its DVD assortment, Hitachi introduced its first DVD Player/CD recorder, which will carry a $799 suggested retail price when it ships midyear. Not yet named, the product will operate as both a DVD video player and a dual-deck CD recorder that reads both the CD-R and CD-RW formats. Hitachi said it will also introduce a full lineup of DVD players this year, including a progressive-scan model.

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