Akai Announces DLP Rear-Projection TV Plans

By Greg Tarr On Feb 9 2004 - 8:00am




APH USA announced it will offer its first line of DLP-based rear-projection HDTV monitors and sets, starting with an Akai-branded 56W-inch HDTV monitor that is slated to ship this summer.

Model PT56DL20 is scheduled to reach retail in July at "a breakthrough retail value," the company said, although exact pricing was still being determined.

Gary Lafferty, acting chief operating officer, said the company will use Texas Instruments' second-generation HD2 chip in initial products, but will be transitioning into third-generation chips "as it becomes prudent."

For DLP, Akai will continue to stick with its brand strategy — pricing products "in a way that will create value for our broader markets," Lafferty said.

Currently, the company is negotiating manufacturing deals with factories in Mexico and the United States, and will have a deal in place in time for the July launch window. "They are both great factories," he said.

Plans for the line call for products with 42W-inch and 56W-inch screen sizes, "and possibly a few in between," Lafferty said.

Akai expects to have three or four models on the market this year. All will feature slim-depth cabinets, and three are planned as tabletop models. The company will carry one tabletop and one full-size model in the 56W-inch screen size.

Initial models will incorporate NTSC tuners, but Akai plans to transition into fully integrated ATSC tuning models to comply with the Federal Communications Commission's DTV tuner mandate.

The first model is expected to be the tabletop 56W-inch PT56DL20, which features 16:9 widescreen display, with a 1,500:1 contrast ratio. The unit's internal audio system will feature four speakers, and is powered by an integrated 60-watt amplifier. The cabinet depth measures 16 inches.

Cosmetics are designed to match an optional entertainment stand, which will carry a $499 suggested retail.

Viewing options include dual-tuner picture-in-picture, split screen and picture-outside-picture.

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