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Japan's CEATEC Bows Blue Laser, Latest A/V Tech

10/08/2001 02:00:00 AM Eastern

CHIBA, JAPAN– Plasma display TVs and LCD TVs were two of the main video highlights at last week's CEATEC Japan 2001 at the Makuhari Messe, here, just outside of Tokyo.

Here is a company-by-company rundown of what products were displayed:

Panasonic introduced 37- and 50-inch plasma display TVs with built-in satellite dish receivers, a DVD recorder with hard disk drive and two LCD TVs with DVD playback.

The 37- and 50-inch diagonal plasma display TVs feature a built-in satellite dish tuner for the Japanese market. Both models will be released in the Japanese market on October 20 at a suggested retail price of 780,000 yen (about $6,500) for the 37-inch and 1.35 million yen ($11,200) for the 50-inch display.

Both models incorporate Panasonic's Real Black Drive System with a 3000:1 contrast and the company's 3-D Progressive Scan. The display's satellite receivers are said to offer 720-line quality, using i.LINK connections. And i.LINK enables it to connect with D-VHS VCRs, DVD decks and SD Memory Card support.

Panasonic's DVD video recorder with built-in hard disk drive (HDD), the DMR-HS1, combines an HDD with a DVD recorder. The new unit enables a maximum of 52 hours of recording on the HDD and 12 hours on DVD-RAM discs allowing for easy editing and storage of recorded TV broadcasts and images from digital video cameras.

The DMR-HS1 will be launched in the Japanese market on Dec. 1, at a price of 200,000 yen (about $1,660).

And the company showed 11- and 15-inch LCD TVs featuring a built-in DVD video player. The 11-inch unit will be released in Japan on October 20 for 145,000 yen ($1,200), while the 15-inch is priced at 181,000 yen ($1,500) and will be available on November 20 in Japan.

Both displays offer 16:9 aspect ratio. The DVD players can play back both DVD discs and CDs, the company said.

Hitachi unveiled two plasma display panels with integrated HDTV broadcast satellite decoding. The models include the 37-inch W37-PDH2100 and the 42-inch W42-PDH2100. Both are slated for the Japanese market, the company said.

Also unveiled was a 37-inch PDP monitor without integrated satellite tuning — model W37-PD2100. The new models will join two tunerless 32W-inch PDPs the company introduced in its domestic market last April.

Hitachi said it will introduce 32-inch high-definition PDPs in Europe in autumn 2001, and will later "implement aggressive marketing initiatives to expand the world of Hitachi plasma televisions into the North American and Asian markets outside Japan."

The company said it will use alternate lighting of surfaces (ALIS) technology that was said to produce a 25 percent increase in panel brilliance. Pricing and U.S. marketing plans for the market were not disclosed.

Sharp unveiled a pair of wide format LCD TVs in the 20W-inch LC-20BV3 and the 22-inch LC-22SV3. Sharp said it plans to bring those models to CES in January at prices to be announced later.

In addition it showed most of its Aquos group LCD TVs for the Japanese market that were shown at the recent CEDIA Expo in Indianapolis.

Also shown was the AN-SS700 Wireless Digital AV Transmission System, which was billed as an option for Aquos LCD televisions to transmit TV and video signals wirelessly to any room in the home. (Greg Tarr, Steve Smith and Cahners' sister publication EDN Japan contributed to this story.)