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Mitsubishi Announces Return To DLP TV

4/19/2004 12:13:00 PM Eastern

Huntington Beach, Calif. — Mitsubishi formally announced plans to expand its microdisplay-based rear-projection television assortment with the addition of six high-definition sets based on Texas Instruments’ Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology.

In addition, the company will carry a single LCoS microdisplay SKU — an 82W-inch fully integrated digital cable-ready set — in the company’s Alpha product series as its flagship rear-projection model.

All eight microdisplay models, as well as the majority of its 2004/05 rear-projection CRT models, plasma displays and direct-view LCD TVs, will incorporate ATSC tuning, CableCARD slots for uni-directional plug-and-play compatibility, and both HDMI and IEEE-1394 digital inputs.

Throughout the 2004/2005 television line, Mitsubishi is adding 18 digital cable-ready models with integrated ATSC tuners, exceeding the minimum requirement of the Federal Communications Commission’s DTV tuner mandate, which is scheduled to begin the first phase in July.

The new DLP additions mark Mitsubishi’s return to microdisplay rear-projection models based on Texas Instruments’ digital micro mirror technology. Mitsubishi, Panasonic and Hitachi were among the first manufacturers to develop DLP rear-projection monitors for the U.S. consumer market in 2000.

Mitsubishi’s original 65W-inch DLP rear -projection monitor was launched at a $15,000 suggested retail price.

Marty Zanfino, Mitsubishi’s product development director, said the company opted to return to DLP with an expanded microdisplay assortment based on a 0.85-inch DMD chip after evaluating "the overall balance of cost and performance. When we had to make our decision [on the 2005 DLP line] about a year ago, it was the right chip, and as the year went along and our chassis developed, we became even more convinced that we picked right."

All of the new DLP units will use a front-end light engine designed by Mitsubishi. The design includes Mitsubishi’s new color wheel system with expanded dark scene detail and independent tint and color depth.

The new DLP models, which are scheduled to ship between July and September, are offered in the 52W-inch and 62W-inch screen sizes, with one size each in the Mitsubishi, Medallion and Diamond Series.

As in the past, Mitsubishi models will be open to general distribution. Medallion models will be offered primarily to TV/appliance accounts and major buying group members, while Diamond series models will be reserved for higher-end A/V specialists that provide the necessary sales support, margins and volume requirements, said Max Wasinger, Mitsubishi sales and marketing senior VP.

Mitsubishi 525 Series DLP models will ship in July and August and will carry suggested retail prices of $4,199 (52W-inches) and $4,999 (62W-inches), respectively. Medallion 725 Series DLP’s will ship in August and September and will carry suggested retails of $4,499 (52W-inches) and $5,299 (62W-inches), respectively. Diamond 825 Series models will ship in August and will carry suggested retails of $5,499 (52W-inches) and $6,299 (62W-inches), respectively.

Diamond Series models will incorporate 120GB hard drives for HD/SD subscription-free digital video recording based on Gemstar’s TV Guide Onscreen interactive program guide (IPG).

Baseline Mitsubishi 525 Series DLP sets include ATSC and NTSC tuning, Digital Cable Ready compatibility with CableCARD slots, NetCommand 4.0 home-networking capability with Learning Media Command capability, and the company’s "AMVP2" motion video processing.

Medallion DLP models add to that package the TV Guide Onscreen IPG and an Anti-Glare Diamond Shield.

The Alpha 925 82W-inch LCoS set features 1,920 pixels by 1,080 pixels resolution, a 120GB DVR, diffusion screen and two-way speakers. It will ship in October at a $20,999 suggested retail.

Also new to the company was an expanded line of large-screen LCD TVs in the Mitsubishi, Medallion and Diamond Series.

Two Mitsubishi 40 Series models are offered in the 30W-inch ($4,999) and 22W-inch ($2,999) screen sizes, and will ship in April and June, respectively. Both feature 1,280 pixels by 768 pixels resolution and include PC compatibility. A MonitorLink connector is supplied for connection to a Mitsubishi outboard tuner/controller.

One 30W-inch Medallion LCD HDTV monitor is offered in the LT-3050 ($5,299, May). That model adds black bezel cosmetics and Mitsubishi’s ColorView picture control capability.

Diamond Series LCD TVs include the 42W-inch and 55W-inch screen sizes and will feature ATSC and NTSC tuning, Digital Cable Ready capability, IEEE-1394 and HDMI inputs, and a 120GB hard drive digital video recorder with TV Guide Onscreen IPG. The 42W-inch LT-4260 uses 20 fluorescent lamps and is scheduled to ship in October at a $13,499 suggested retail. The LT-5560 will be driven by 28 fluorescent lamps and will be shipped at a date and price to be announced later.

In plasma displays, Mitsubishi will carry the 42W-inch, 50W-inch and 61W-inch screen sizes in the Medallion Series. The PD-4245 ($4,999, October) is a 42W-inch EDTV monitor with "MonitorLink" DVI input, and included speakers and matching stand.

The PD-5050 ($8,499, October) is a 50W-inch HDTV monitor with HDMI slot and improved brightness and contrast performance. The PD-6150 ($17,999, October) is a 61W-inch HDTV monitor with HDMI input and improved brightness and contrast performance.

Wasinger said Mitsubishi will also continue to support CRT rear-projection with a three series lineup, and will include both HDTV upgradeable monitors and fully integrated digital cable ready sets.

Mitsubishi 315 Series CRT rear-projection HD upgradeable models will be offered in the 42W-inch ($1,599, April), 48W-inch ($1,799, May), 55W-inch ($2,199, March) and 65W-inch ($2,699, April) screen sizes. All feature 1,080i native resolution MonitorLink input, AMVP video processing and Mitsubishi’s "PerfectColor" technology.

The three step-up Mitsubishi 515 Series models are offered in the 48W-inch ($2,299, July), 55W-inch ($2,699, July) and 65W-inch ($3,199, April) screen sizes. All add AMVP2 video processing, ATSC tuners, NetCommand 4.0 digital home networking and digital cable-ready capability with IEEE-1394 and HDMI inputs.

Three fully integrated digital cable-ready CRT rear-projection models will be offered in the Medallion 615 Series, including the 55W-inch ($2,999, August), 65W-inch ($3,499, August) and 73W-inch ($5,299, August) screen sizes. All models add Quad-Field Focus EDF lenses, and ColorPure filters. The 73W-inch unit uses 9-inch CRT optics.

The Diamond 815 Series CRT rear-projection line features the 55W-inch ($4,499, August) and 65W-inch ($5,499, August) screen sizes and add 9-inch CRT optics, TruFocus Quad-Field Focus lenses and high-gloss black cosmetics.

To support the few "HDTV upgradable" rear-projection monitors in the flat-panel and CRT rear-projection lines, as well as past monitor-only models, Mitsubishi also unveiled its next-generation Promise module that incorporates ATSC and NTSC tuners, Gemstar’s TV Guide Onscreen interactive program guide, and both HDMI and IEEE-1394 connections. It will also incorporate a subscription-free HDTV/SDTV digital video recorder equipped with a 120GB hard disc drive.

In other product announcements, Mitsubishi said it will continue to support the VCR category by carrying over a pair of HD-capable D-VHS decks ($449 and $549), an S-VHS deck ($199) and a Hi-Fi VHS deck ($89).

The company will also carry a pair of DVD players, including an entry progressive scan model ($99 suggested retail) and a step-up model with both SACD and DVD-Audio multi-channel audio support ($229).

Zanfino said the company is still considering whether or not it will introduce its first DVD recording products later in the year.