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Report: Internet TV On Way

8/03/2006 02:00:00 PM Eastern

Tokyo — The concept of Internet-enabled televisions is about to be resurrected as a group of five leading Japanese TV makers appear poised to introduce new classes of the hybrid TVs next year.

Five Japanese TV manufacturers reportedly are preparing to launch Internet televisions next year, according to the Nihon Keizai newspaper.

Hitachi, Matsushita, Sharp, Sony and Toshiba are reportedly readying TVs that would directly connect to the Internet to playback new online video services without the need for a PC or a special set-top Internet device.

To accomplish the task the companies were said to be working on delivering a common standard for connecting to the Web as early as next spring, the report said.

U.S. marketing executives for the companies did not return comments on their parent companies’ plans as this was written, but a Sharp spokesperson pointed out that company recently unveiled in Japan a line of AQUOS Internet LCD TVs slated for the company’s domestic market.

That line features two units each in the 32W-inch and 37W-inch screen sizes, combining high-definition LCD TV screens with many of the components of a PC.

Two versions are offered in each screen size, enabling recording to internal hard disk drives, either high-definition video or terrestrial analog video.

The TVs are designed to let users navigate Internet and broadband TV broadcasts using the remote control.

The models include hard drives up to 500GBs in capacity to store recordings of HDTV broadcasts as well as large volumes of digital still image and music data.

Sharp said the design features separate TV and PC sections which save space in the living room, as well as offer advanced environmental performance, such as low power consumption.

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