By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
LONG BEACH, CALIF. — In addition to launching its first HDTV sets, Mitsubishi unveiled a host of both analog and HDTV-upgradeable rear-projection TV monitors for the 2001 season.
Like the fully integrated sets slated for late summer of early fall release (see related story on page 1), the HDTV-upgradeable models will be offered in three feature series, all of which will continue to include the 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio.
In the entry Platinum Series, Mitsubishi will offer three HD-upgradeable models in the 46W-inch (WT-46809, $2,499 suggested retail), 55W-inch (WS-55809, $3,299) and 65W-inch (WS-65809, $3,799) screen sizes.
New features in the series include: third generation DiamondDigital pixel multiplier (DPM3), 5-mode format expansion, film mode (full-frame 3-2 pulldown capability), HD RGB and component video inputs, and two progressive scan inputs.
The step-up Platinum Plus Series offers two HD-upgradeable models in the 55W-inch (WS-55819, $3,599) and 65W-inch (WS-65819, $4, 299) screen sizes. All models in the step-up class add a QuadField Focus magnetic beam control system, improved audio performance and enhanced cosmetics to the Platinum line.
HDTV-upgradeable models in the top-end Diamond series offer two screen-size options: the WS-55908 is a 55W-inch model priced at $4,999, and the WS-65908 is a 65W-inch version priced at $5,499. Both are CRT-based and employ the Tru-Focus lens system for improved picture sharpness, high-gloss cabinetry, gold-plated connectors, VGA computer input, and anti-glare Diamond shield screens.
The last HDTV-upgradeable model is the company's second-generation DLP-based rear-projection monitor. The WD-65100 ($17,500 suggested retail) features 720x1280 pixel resolution, VGA, S-VGA and XGA computer input compatibility, five S-Video terminals, two 480I and 480p component video inputs, one HD component and RGBHV input and two PC inputs. Also included is a 3D-Y/C digital 480-line comb filter and the company's System 4 universal remote.
New to the DLP monitor is a split-screen feature that will allow users to view computer content on one side of the screen while a video program plays on the other side.
Mitsubishi executives announced at the show that they have expanded the number of dealers carrying the DLP model to 40, and the first-generation unit, currently on the market, remains the largest rear-projection model available. Sales were "fantastic," exceeding company expectations, executives stated.
Next to its integrated HDTV sets, Mitsubishi's second breakthrough product was the D-VHS VCR. Slated for late summer at $1,049 suggested retail price is the HS-HD2000U.
The deck, which will ship with a D-VHS cassette, records DTV and other digital sources, including HDTV, through an IEEE-1394 digital interface. Also included is the obligatory 5C and for networking, HAVi. An NTSC tuner is built in but DTV signals must be fed through the 1394 from external sources. The HD2000U convert DTV signals to analog form. In addition to digital bit stream recording, the deck will record analog signals in S-VHS-ET format.
In analog projection, Mitsubishi will carry six 4:3 models. The entry Silver series four models that are currently available in the following screen sizes: 45-inches $1,599, 50-inches ($1,799), 55-inches ($1,899), and 60-inches ($2,099). Two 4:3 models in the step-up Gold series are slated to ship in July and include a 60-inch set at $2,399 and a 70-inch set at $3,199.
All models include 3D-Y/C digital 480-line comb filters and ColorTuned Diamond Shield protective screens with contrast enhancing qualities.
The DVD line will offer three new models. The entry player will carry a $205 suggested retail starting this May and will be followed in August by a progressive-scan model with 3-2 pulldown for film-based material at $375. The new top-of-the-line unit will be Mitsubishi's first DVD-Audio player. The DD-8020, which is slated for September at $475, offers DVD-Audio playback, CD-R/W support, progressive scan video with 3-2 pulldown, and onboard Dolby Digital and DVD-Audio decoding.
In addition to the D-VHS VCR, Mitsubishi will also market four analog decks. Two models offer Hi-Fi starting at $119, and pair of S-VHS decks starting at $205.
Meanwhile, Perry said Mitsubishi's "Promise Module," which promises upgradeability for the company's HDTV displays, will be available in 18 to 24 months. The adapter will enable HDTV displays compatibility with home networks requiring IEEE-1394 interfaces, 5C copy protection and HAVi protocols, in addition to receiving off-air DTV broadcasts and descrambled digital cable signals.
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