By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Announcements of next-generation digital television sets and monitors, multi-featured DVD players, DVD recorders and HD-level VCRs appeared likely to dominate video and television news out of the upcoming 2002 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
A number of television manufacturers were preparing to unveil new digital television products to take advantage of the increasing hours of high- and enhanced-definition programming that is expected to appear in the 2002 season.
One class of DTV displays that has gained considerable momentum in recent months are those based on Texas Instruments' Digital Light Processing (DLP)/Digital Micromirror Device (DMD) chips. Executives at TI plan to again have a large booth filled with new front- and rear-screen projection sets that employ either its 4:3 480p chip or new widescreen 720p chip. The company said it was expecting announcements from several new companies that have joined the camp.
Activity is also expected to come in a handful of new projection TVs based on Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) architecture, which will compete directly with the new DLP displays.
In plasma display panels, larger, sharper and brighter seemed to be common enhancements in a class of products that will now include a wider variety of screen sizes, both smaller and much larger than the 42W-inch wide screen panel that dominated the category in the early years of introduction. At the show, screen sizes of 50W-, 60W- and 61W- inches will be demonstrated at a number of companies' booths.
Direct-view LCD televisions are also coming into vogue and will be on display in a number of locations around the show. Look for larger screens, better resolution (including a number of HD-level models) and slightly lower price points to be the dominating themes for the category this year.
The numbers of DVD SKUs and the manufacturers supplying them will also expand at the show, as a number of new companies from the Far East bring affordable machines with enhanced interactive capabilities, progressive scan and both DVD-Audio and SACD multi-channel music disc compatibility.
Expect to see announcements of more multi-channel music software availability as the two camps continue to jockey for market position.
DVD recorders, which generated a lot of news last year, will proliferate under multiple brands and in multiple formats. Showgoers can expect to see more recordable disc format posturing from the DVD-RAM, DVD-RW and DVD+RW camps.
Meanwhile, the latest news in VCR — deliveries of the first HDTV-level D-VHS decks — will generate some noise at CES, as dealers and consumers continue to ask for prerecorded HDTV source material for their new DTV sets and monitors.
Also slated are a number of new next-generation hard-disk video recorders called personal video recorders (PVRs). A key new trend here will be in greatly expanded hard disk capacity, allowing many more hours of program caching and room for storing other content, such as interactive programming software, digital still pictures and home videos.
Also look for camcorders to make some news with a few manufacturers announcing ultra-compact digital models.
For more details, see the next edition of TWICE and the CES Show Dailies.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.