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Hitachi Unveils TV Line

5/30/2001 11:49:00 AM Eastern

NEW YORK - Hitachi Home Electronics America unveiled its 2001 television line, including nine new rear-projection HDTV monitors. But the company said it has no plans for any integrated HDTV sets or set-top decoders at this time.

Bill Whalen, Hitachi senior product and marketing manager, said at a press conference here, last week, that the company elected not to offer fully integrated HDTV sets, due to the still transitive nature of digital TV standards and the relatively lean supply of over-the-air HDTV content. The company also has yet to announce a DTV set-top decoder box.

All models in the new UltraVision Digital monitor lineup are split between models using the 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios. Models in 16:9 configurations include the UWX and SWX segments, while 4:3 configured models are grouped in the FDX and UDX series.

New across the CRT-based rear-projection digital line this year is a digital processing circuit (called D3VirtualHD), which scales NTSC and 480i sources to either the 540p or 1080i picture formats, depending on which option the consumer selects. The system also uses 3:2 pull-down processing techniques on film-based source material to more accurately convert 24 frame-per-second film speeds to the 30 fps video rate while minimizing distortion and artifacts.

All UltraVision Digital models also offer two sets of component video inputs for connection to DTV set-top decoders and DVD players.

Also included in the UWX and UDX series is a 4-sensor Magic Focus auto convergence system, which meters four spots on the screen before automatically adjusting the alignment of a monitor's CRT guns for sharp focus and accurate color rendition without the need of a service call.

Models in the high-end SWX series use an 8-sensor Magic Focus system with slightly more accurate monitoring, Whalen said. The 4:3 models in the FDX series use a less-sophisticated 9-point digital convergence system.

The 16:9 models offer four screen mode displays including full 16:9 aspect ratio, normal 4:3 aspect ratio, fill 4:3 zoom mode, and smooth-wide 4:3 expanded mode. The 4:3 models offer four screen modes, including gray bars at the top and bottom of 16:9 original aspect ratio, black bands on the 16:9 original aspect ratio, 16:9 zoom mode and 16:9 expanded mode.

To help support the line, said Leo Delaney, Hitachi marketing director, the company has produced a DVD video presentation designed to educate floor salespeople to key issues with digital television technology as well as to explain the proprietary technologies in the new Hitachi line. The DVD trainer will be distributed to all authorized Hitachi retail outlets in coming weeks, he said, and segments of the presentation can be used to educate customers to the nuances of the digital television technology, including resolution formats and a detailed explanation of the 3:2 pull-down conversion process.

Other models in the line include four NTSC rear projection sets, two direct-view 4:3 HDTV monitors in the 32-inch and 36-inch screen sizes and the currently shipping widescreen DLP-based 55-inch rear-projection monitor (55DMX01W).

Models in the UWX series include Hitachi's first table-top widescreen unit (43UWX10B, $2,199 suggested retail) with a 43W-inch screen and optional matching base carrying a $199 retail; the 53W-inch (53UWX10B), which ships in July at a $2,999 retail; and the 61W-inch (61UWX10B), which ships in August at $3,499.

The SWX line includes the 53W-inch (53SWX10B), which ships in August at $3,499, and the 61W-inch (61SWX10B), which ships in August at a $3,999 retail.

Models in the 4:3 FDX series include the 43-inch (43FDX10B), which ships in July at a $1,799 suggested retail, and 43FDX11B, which adds a protective screen shield at $1,999.

The UDX series includes the 53-inch (53UDX10B), which ships in July at $2,999, and the 61-inch (61UDX10B), which ships in August at $3,999.

The NTSC 4:3 models include the 53-inch 53SBX10B, which ships in August at $1,999. The mid-line GX series includes the 43-inch (43GX10B), which ships in June at $1,599, and the 50-inch (50GX30B), which ships in July at $1,699. Both feature 5-element CRT guns, multiview PIP, and 9-point digital convergence.

The entry DX series includes the 50-inch (50DX10B), which ships in June at $1,399, and the 60-inch (60DX10B), which ships in July at $1,899. Both feature two-tuner PIP, manual 9-point convergence and two 24-watt front speakers.

The direct view HDTV monitors include the 32-inch (32UDX10S, $1,499) and 36-inch (36UDX10S, $1,799). Both ship in September and include 3D Y/C digital comb filters and the D3 Digital Display Driver that converts analog sources to 480 progressive scan format.

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