Sony celebrated the fifth anniversary of the WEGA flat-screen television family by unveiling two WEGA-series fully integrated LCD HDTV sets in the 32W-inch and 42W-inch screen sizes and a 50W-inch XS series HD plasma monitor at a press conference here.
The new LCD sets, which Sony called some of the largest fully integrated LCD HDTV sets in the industry, are positioned under Sony's high-end XBR series. The "HD-ready" plasma model is part of the Plasma WEGA lineup.
The three flat-panel displays include the advanced WEGA engine system that supports a package of sharpness and contrast enhancement technologies, including a Block Noise Smoother system that minimizes picture noise in some 480p source material. Also included is Direct Digital II circuitry with cleaner processing of incoming signals.
Both models incorporate ATSC/QAM compatible tuners, and Twin View picture-and-picture, which allows users to watch high-definition and analog programs simultaneously.
Tim Baxter, Sony home products division marketing senior VP, said the new sets "demonstrate the rapidly increasing demand for flat-panel television and our goal to provide the widest choice of screen sizes and display technology."
He continued, "Consumers look to Sony for the latest in television technology and outstanding picture quality. And all three sets deliver the latest technology and the ultimate picture performance with the Sony proprietary WEGA engine system."
With the two new sets, the company now offers nine LCD WEGA models ranging from 15-inch to 42W-inch screen sizes.
In Plasma WEGA, Baxter said the XS Series 50W-inch KE-50XS910, which ships this winter at a $10,000 suggested retail, incorporates many of the XBR series' features, including the re-engineered plasma panel driver, the WEGA Engine system, Memory Stick media playback, a DVI-HDTV connection and twin surround audio system.
Sony now offers eight plasma WEGA models in the U.S., ranging in screen sizes from 32W-inch to 61W-inches.
The flat-panel models feature the following proprietary Sony picture technology:
Direct Digital II circuitry that optimizes incoming video signals to minimize video artifacts for cleaner signal processing;
Digital Reality Creation MultiFunction circuitry that bit-maps any NTSC sources (DVD, VHS, DBS, Cable, etc.), creating a picture that rivals high definition resolution;
MID-X (Multi Image Driver) circuitry that displays both high-definition and conventional pictures in picture-and-picture applications;
and CineMotion reverse 3:2 pull-down circuitry for the film-based video sources.
The XBR models also add a proprietary panel driver LSI (Large Scale Integrated circuit) for LCD, which improves response rate resulting in minimized image blur for fast action scenes. A new contrast enhancer function automatically adjusts brightness and contrast to maximize picture reproduction, especially in dark scenes.
They also include the industry standard DVI-HDTV (Digital Visual Interface) connection, ensuring improved contrast and detail with better white tone and video noise reduction — without the quality losses associated with a typical analog connection.
Additionally, the XBR models include a high quality i.LINK digital interface for D-VHS support, an advanced Memory Stick media slot for JPEG still images, MPEG video and MP3 audio playback, and five sets of A/V inputs (3 composite, 2 component).
The new sets have floating screen design, and the 42-inch XBR model also features removable speakers for flexibility in custom installations.