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New Projectors, DVD Recorders Slated For CEDIA Expo

9/16/2002 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Precision CRT video projectors, new plasma display panels and DVD recorders are among some of the hotter video items slated to debut at this year's CEDIA Expo.

The many new announcements planned for this year's show testifies to the growing importance of this custom electronics venue to manufacturers who cater to both specialty and custom retailers.

In light of the FCC's recent edict on digital television tuners, new DTV set-top boxes and fully integrated HDTV sets are also expected to be feature items in several booths, while growing sales of flat-panel televisions (both LCD and plasma) will bring new SKUs for dealers formulating thin-screen business plans.

The following is a list of some highlights from what manufacturers are planning to bring to Minneapolis:

Accurate Imaging Technologies, a specialist in high-performance video systems for home theaters, will demonstrate a CRT-based projection system using technology that keeps the video signal in the digital domain. The Digital Pathways Series of products consists of CRT-based projectors, HD processors and DVD players that avoid constant up- and down-conversions to preserve image integrity.

The company will use CEDIA to demonstrate how an 8-inch projector using the technology can rival some 9-inch projectors without the aid of costly outboard video processors. Accurate Imaging will demonstrate a $35,000 solution using an 8-inch CRT projector with an AIT internal scaler card, and an exclusive DVD player with a pure digital output.

Daewoo will look to make inroads with the CEDIA installer community by showing a range of DTV products including its first LCD-based rear-projection set. Model DSJ-6000LN ($6,995 suggested retail) features a 62W-inch 16:9 screen and 720p resolution (2.76 million dots). Also to be shown is a high-contrast 42W-inch plasma display panel (DSP-4280GM, $4,995 suggested retail) with a 3,000:1 contrast ratio and 480p EDTV resolution.

Elite Video, the high-end video projector vendor run by former AmPro executives, will show its extensive range of CRT, D-ILA and DLP projectors, including the flagship EV-4600 CRT front projector with 9-inch optics. It is shipping now at a $32,995 suggested retail price. This year, Elite is one of only a handful of manufacturers still producing high-performance CRT home theater projectors.

Fujitsu will present two of its latest Plasmavision SlimScreen PDPs — the 50W-inch PDS-5004 ($9,999) and 61W-inch PDS-6101 ($24,999). Both models feature high-definition 1,365 x 768 pixel performance, and DVI-D connectors.

Hitachi will present its latest 42W- and 32W-inch plasma display panels (42HDT20 and 32HDT20) along with an assortment of CRT-based rear-projection HDTV sets and monitors, including the 65XWX20B 65W-inch fully integrated model. The company also planned to showcase the 51GWX20B (51W-inch) and 57GWX20B (57W-inch) HDTV monitors that have been reserved for specialty dealers and CEDIA installers. Both offer HDTV resolution and DVI-HDTV with HDCP connectors.

Icebox, the developer of interactive television systems designed for the kitchen, will present its next generation Icebox FlipScreen kitchen entertainment center. The unit has been upgraded to the Windows CE.NET operating system, and combines TV, FM radio, DVD, audio CDs and Internet access into a restyled under-the-cabinet LCD television system. The new product includes touch-screen controls, RJ-232 input for home automation integration, a kitchen-proof remote control and keyboard.

JVC was planning to show its D-Theater HDTV D-VHS video recorder and expected to have an announcement on distribution of D-Theater-enabled products at the show.

Loewe planned to unveil a new 30W-inch flat-screen direct-view HDTV monitor. The highly styled Articos will feature a basalt finish and will offer a variety of matching stand options, including a unique remote-controlled swivel-base tabletop model. In addition, Loewe has collaborated with Bose to develop an optional 5.1-channel Dolby Digital surround sound system to match with the Articos. Called the Concertos, the system features a DVD/receiver, five voice-matched speakers and a subwoofer.

The Articos is slated to ship in the fourth quarter, while the Concertos is scheduled for a summer 2003 release.

Marantz is expected to present four new video displays, including the PD5020D 50W-inch plasma monitor, which will improve upon the prior PD5010D with better brightness, contrast and overall picture quality and a reduced $15,999 suggested retail price.

Also to appear is the LC1510 15-inch LCD TV/Monitor ($1,599 suggested retail), which is billed as Marantz's next-generation flat-panel LCD video display offering "enhanced image quality and features."

In DVD, Marantz will display the DV8300 Universal DVD/SACD player ($1,499.99), which is billed as the company's first universal DVD-Video/DVD-Audio/SACD player. The DV4300 DVD player ($299.99), is a new high-performance progressive scan model.

Mitsubishi will give CEDIA dealers a first look at newly added lines of LCD and plasma flat-panel displays it plans to bring to market next year. The booth will feature a few "advanced prototypes" of 22W-inch and 30W-inch LCD HDTV monitors and three plasma panels in 42W-, 50W- and 61W-inch. All models feature the 768p native display format and will include the company's proprietary MonitorLink interface to connect with the company's HD5000 tuner/control that brings all of the features of Mitsubishi's integrated HDTV sets to the flat-panel monitors.

Panasonic will present a pair of DVD recorders based on its DVD-RAM recordable disc format. The highlighted product is the DMR-HS2 combination DVD recorder and hard drive-based digital video recorder (DVR). The combo product includes a 40GB hard drive and offers TimeSlip technology allowing pausing and rewinding of live television programs. Panasonic added VCR-Plus record programming in lieu of a program guide service. The DMR-E30, which is currently shipping with a $799.95 suggested retail price, is Panasonic's third-generation DVD-RAM deck. It also features TimeSlip capability and progressive-scan video output.

Philips planned to unveil a new product in its family of Pronto touch-screen remote controls at a Friday press conference, and will show its previously announced television and projector lines. Another highlighted product will be the DVDR985 DVD+RW video recorder, which received a $100 price cut this month to $899.99, and will continue to offer 10 free recordable discs through the balance of the year.

Pioneer planned to show a new line of Elite CRT-based rear-projection HDTV monitors offering DVI with HDCP digital connections. The line includes the PRO-520HD, PRO-620HD and PRO-720HD.

Models will also feature a new five-element lens system, a PureCinema I/P converter and the Reference Theater Mode (RTM) Pro system that allows an HD projection monitor to produce more realistic images from film-based material. When selected, RTM sets color temperature to 6500 K and turns off the scan velocity modulation, sharpness, flesh tone and black level expansion circuitry.

The company also planned to unveil its Elite Pro-800HD 43W-inch plasma display panel.

Sony will use CEDIA to introduce two new ultra-compact LCD-based video projectors in its "Cineza" series. Models include the entry VPL-HS2 ($1,800 suggested) and the step-up VPL-HS10 ($3,000). The latter will replace the first Cineza (VPL-HS1). In addition, the company's VPL-VW12HT LCD projector, which was distributed by the professional products group, will move into the consumer group distribution. Sony also hinted that it plans to unveil a new direct-view LCD panel, with details to be announced at the show.

Other products to be presented include Sony's first TiVo digital video recorder based on the Series 2 platform — the 80-hour SRV-3000 ($499) — and a 301-disc progressive-scan megachanger which ships soon at $499.

Thomson Multimedia is showing its latest set-top digital television receiver decoders, including the RCA DTC-200, which receives ATSC and NTSC over-the-air broadcasts in addition to DirecTV standard and high-definition programming.

The RCA DTC200 adds several new features to what the prior DTC100 carried. These include a DVI with HDCP digital output, analog HD component video outputs (in addition to the RGB via VGA connector) both coaxial and optical digital audio outputs and selectable 1080i/720p/480p/480i outputs. The RCA DTC200 will be available in the fourth quarter at $699. Other products to be featured include the RCA Scenium television line of HDTV sets and monitors that was recently unveiled at the company's product line show, home theater audio systems and a pair of DVD players.

Toshiba, which has a new DLP front projector (see related story, p. 4), will also showcase its 57W-inch HDTV rear-projection monitor that uses a 3-chip Liquid Crystal On Silicon light engine. The unit is capable of up to 1,920 x 1,080p resolution and is slated for an October release at an $8,999.95 suggested retail price.

ViewSonic was expected to present many of the HD-capable display products from its rapidly expanding line. The company now handles DLP, LCoS and LCD projectors, as well as a pair of plasma display panels in the 42W-inch and 50W-inch screen sizes.

Yamaha will show its first DVD recorder — a model based on the Philips DVD+RW recordable disc format. Features include extensive compatibility of recorded-discs with current DVD players, progressive scan video output capability on DVD movies and additional compatibility with CDs, CD-R/RWs and SVCDs.

The DVD player includes 3:2 pull-down and Faroudja DCDi de-interlacing on progressive scan output. An i.LINK (IEEE 1394) digital connector is offered for use with digital camcorders, home PCs and other digital home video sources. The recorder ships in October at a $1,299 suggested retail.

The company will also show its PDM-1 ($13,999 suggested) 50W-inch plasma display panel with 1,366 x 768p resolution, and its LPX-500 ($5,500 suggested) three-panel LCD front projector with Faroudju DCDi processing and a DVI-HDTV digital interface. Both display products were scheduled to ship this month.

Zenith will use CEDIA to unveil two products for the first time, a 15.1-inch HDTV LCD TV monitor and a 37W-inch EDTV-grade plasma display panel.

The L15V24S (shipping in October at a $1,299 suggested retail) is a 15.1-inch direct-view LCD HDTV/PC monitor, including an RS-232C port for serial communication, built-in NTSC tuner, 1,024 x 768 pixel resolution, 350:1 contrast ratio, and 150 x 125-degree viewing angles. Other connections include HD component, RGB, S-Video and RF.

The P37W24 plasma monitor starts a new 37W-inch 16:9 screen size for the company. It delivers up to 480p resolution (852 x 480p) and includes Intelligent Image Scaling, built-in aspect ratio correction and RS-232C controls. The P37W24 ships in November at a price to be announced.