By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
The 2001 CEDIA Expo promises a bounty of technological innovations in video products, ranging from the first IEEE-1394 digital in-home network systems to the first DVD recording decks to new aggressively-priced television display format scalers.
Also look for advances in both DLP-projectors (see story below) and plasma display panels as key display trends.
The following is a glance at what some video companies had planned to showcase in their booths:
Communications Specialties planned to show its Deuce HD intelligent video scaler, which scales high-definition quality images from NTSC and PAL sources. Deuce HD's offering of five scaled outputs includes the 480p, 720p, 1080p, 1280x1024 and 1366x768 formats.
The product, which is shipping now at a $2,495 suggested retail, adds intelligent motion compensation processing, that uses three different algorithms to automatically select the most effective motion compensation method, or combination of methods, based upon the source material being scaled. User-selectable settings are also available. The unit supports and converts between both 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios.
Three-scaled output resolutions include 852x480, 800x600 and 1024x768. Standard line doubling and quadrupling outputs are offered as well.
Denon said its new DVM-4800 DVD Audio/Video 5-disc carousel changer would debut at the show. The five-disc progressive-scan DVD player offers DVD-Audio playback with Denon's exclusive DVD-A subwoofer bass management for improved low-frequency performance in multichannel satellite/subwoofer home theater systems. The DVM-4800 combines the low-frequency content from all the channels of a multichannel DVD-Audio disc and routes the bass to the subwoofer while providing a full range output to the main channels, and enables the user to adjust the volume of the low-frequency signal fed to the subwoofer.
The DVM-4800, which carries a $1,199 suggested retail price, plays back DVD-Video, DVD-Audio/ Video, CD and Video CD discs, and includes MP3 decoding.Electrograph will show what it calls "the world's first direct digital display solution," a direct digital plasma display connected with a direct digital output DVD player. Eliminating the conversions that normally take place between the original digital format on the DVD, the display creates a picture. Picture clarity is said to be "50 percent better than an analog-to-digital picture."
Electrograph said it has exclusive rights to the proprietary technology in the United States. The Electrograph Direct Digital Plasma Monitor model DTS42DDGB and the Electrograph Direct Digital DVD player model DVD-SDI2000 will be marketed and sold under the Electrograph brand name through a network of custom high end home theater dealers and systems integrators.
Elite Video will demonstrate its CRT, D-ILA and LCD home theater projectors.
Highlights will include the EV-3600 CRT HDTV front projector, which features eight-inch CRTs for more than 1,600 lines of RGB resolution and 850 ANSI lumens peak white brightness. It is currently available at a $22,995 suggested retail.
The DLA-G15 is the company's new front projector driven by a second-generation direct-drive Image Light Amplification (D-ILA) technology. It produces native resolution of 1365 x 1024 with full HDTV capability and 1,500 ANSI lumens brightness. It is currently available at a suggested retail price of $17,995.
In LCD, the P-1500 produces a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels and more than 1,500 ANSI lumens brightness, in a compact unit. It is currently available at $8,995.
Faroudja was set to showcase its Native Rate Series digital video processor series, which was "specifically designed to optimize mid-priced fixed-installation digital LCD, DLP and plasma displays at a more affordable price." The processors upconvert standard video sources for optimal presentation on each specific display. Faroudja said it customizes each NR Series processor to a specific order.
In addition, the processor includes 12 different fine-tune adjustments for the bandwidth expansion circuit. Scan rates can be optimized for the following display formats: 480p big screens, 852 x 480 plasma panels, 800 x 600 digital projectors, 16:9 HD displays, 1024 x 768 digital projectors, 1366 x 768 plasmas, ALIS plasmas, and D-ILA projectors.
They feature adaptive comb filtering, cross-color suppression, 10-bit processing, two-line time-base correction, chroma bandwidth expansion, advanced 3/2 film logic, advanced edit detection, DCDi deinterlacing; and rate-optimized luma bandwidth expansion for detail.
The Native Rate Series Video Processor/Scaler is available now at suggested retail prices of $3,995 and $4,995.
Fujitsu will present its latest plasma display panel — the Plasmavision PDS-5002, featuring a 50W-inch 16:9 HDTV quality screen — and its new LPF-7700 LCD projector.
The PDS-5002 offers a 500:1 contrast ratio and 1366x768 resolution, surpassing the 720p HDTV broadcast format. A newly developed Advanced Video Movement (AVM) processor, is said to "virtually eliminate motion artifacts." Inputs include component video, S-video, composite, analog RGB, and DVI-D digital video. The PDS-5002 just began shipping at a $14,999 suggested retail.
Hitachi planned to bring to Indianapolis much of its new HD monitor line, including the rear-projection (SWX, UWX, UDX and FDX series) and two UDX-series direct-view digital CRT monitors in 36-inch and 32-inch screen sizes. The company had also planned to introduce several new models, including "a new variation of the 61-inch and 53-inch SWX10B models." The new models (61SWX12B and 53SWX12B) have been upgraded from previous series with a new anti-reflective screen coating, the company said.
iCEBOX (the company formerly known as CMi Worldwide) which has had a long standing distribution agreement with kitchen appliance supplier Salton, planned to use CEDIA to shift its distribution efforts to custom A/V installers, willing to take on a new line of kitchen-centric LCD and CRT-based TV/DVD-convergence combo products, called the iCEBOX Flipscreen (12.1-inch, 800x600 LCD screen) and iCEBOX Countertop (9-inch CRT screen), respectively. The products are designed to let users watch TV programs, DVD videos and Video-CDs in the kitchen, making them well-suited for programming based on food preparation. They also offer an Internet connection (ISP agnostic) to let users go on line to find recipes or read email.
The company, which at press time was contemplating a name change, now believes CEDIA designers and installers are best suited to selling the devices as installed items. At the show, the company will be building dealer programs targeting five initial markets including Dallas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco and Seattle. For additional information see www.cmiworldwide.com.
JVC planned to show its D'Ahlia 61W-inch D-ILA based HD-capable rear projection monitor. The unit recently began shipping to select dealers at a $12,999.95 suggested retail price. The unit incorporates a DVI input with HDCP copy protection and dual auto sensing component video inputs. The company also planned to show its new 20-inch flat-tube 4:3 NTSC TV/DVD combo unit which recently started shipping at a $549.95 suggested retail.
Marantz planned to unveil its VP-12S1 HD DLP front projector. New to the unit, which carries a $12,999 suggested retail price, is the new Texas Instruments' HD-1 widescreen DMD chip.
It features improved scaling of standard video sources using three Faroudja decoder, line-doubler and video-enhancer chips. The projector also boasts a 1280 x 780 pixel panel and newly developed Minolta custom optics.
The contrast ratio is listed at 1000:1 and brightness at 700 ANSI lumens brightness. It also adds 3-2 pulldown detection.
Mitsubishi planned to introduce CEDIA dealers to its concept of home networking, by showcasing its new line of fully integrated HDTV sets featuring IEEE-1394 connectors with HAVi interoperability protocols. The sets also will be among the first to include compatibility with 64 and 256 QAM demodulation to receive unscrambled digital cable TV programming. Panasonic planned to showcase its recently launched DMRE20 DVD-RAM video recording deck and its 50W-inch HDTV-capable plasma display panel.
Pioneer planned to demonstrate its recently announced third generation 50W-inch HDTV plasma display monitor, dubbed the FlexPlasma. The display features native XGA resolution (1280x768), and includes Pioneer's new True Matrix Imaging technology that yields brighter and more vivid colors, improved contrast and clarity. Also included is an expansion slot for adding cards that could be used to support DVI and 1394 digital interfaces. Pricing for the PDP, which will ship in October, would be announced at the show.
The company was also to announce pricing on its new Elite series HDTV rear-projection monitors in the 53W-inch ($5,900), 58W-inch ($6,700) and 64W-inch ($7,500) screen sizes.
Also slated for demonstration is Pioneer's DVR-7000 DVD-RW recording deck, which is now scheduled for a fall delivery. The unit will carry a $2,800 suggested retail price, and will be sold through Pioneer Elite specialty retailers. The DVD-RW format, developed by Pioneer, boasts disc playback compatibility with most legacy DVD video players and PC DVD-ROM drives using the unit's video mode. This will allow recordings of up to two hours on a DVD-RW or DVD-R disc.
The disc media will sell for $24 (DVD-RW) and $12 (DVD-R).
Philips planned to showcase the first two DVD recorders based on its DVD+RW recordable disc format, which boasts disc playback ability on a majority of legacy DVD video players and DVD-ROM drives. Introduced at the recent IFA show in Berlin, the new DVD+RW decks are slated to ship to dealers this month. The DVDR1000 comes in a silver case, while the DVDR1500 is black and comes bundled with the Philips Pronto Pro color touchscreen remote.
Recently added to both units is progressive scan video playback capability using Faroudja processing technology.
Initial units will not be compatible with DVD+R media, but Philips said it will be sending out a data disc that owners can use to upgrade the decks to DVD+R compatibility later in the year. The decks are expected to see street prices of $2,000 to $3,000, respectively.
DVD+RW decks will record up to two hours on a single 4.7GB DVD+RW disc in DVD quality, and up to four hours of better-than-VHS quality. A total of up to eight hours is possible using a double-sided 9.4GB disc. Other features include: a built-in TV tuner, variable bitrate recording (VBR) to adjust the data rate of recordings based on the amount of motion in the recorded material, a built-in TV tuner, AC-3 decoder/encoder, IEEE-1394 digital interface for DV camcorder connections, and component video input and output.
Runco said it would show its new 61W-inch plasma display panel (PL-61cx), which will come packaged with PFP controller. It boasts a native resolution of 1366 x 768, allowing for the full 720p HDTV format and a 1000:1 contrast ratio. The unit will ship in September at a $32,995 suggested retail. Also planned for demonstration are two new VIVIX Pixel-for-Pixel processors designed specifically for fixed-pixel displays. Features include multiple scaling outputs, aspect ratio control, sync polarity, image shift, and blanking, to enable the device to be optimized for specific display types, the company said.
The output resolutions for the PFP-7 include 852 x 480, 800 x 600, 1024 x 768, 1024 x 1024, 1280 x 720 and 1280 x 768 for fixed-pixel displays, and 480p, 540p, 600p and 720p outputs for CRT-based rear projectors. The output resolutions for the PFP-11 include all of the PFP-7 resolutions plus 1366 x 768, 1280 x 1024 and 1366 x 1024.
Both models are shipping now, at suggested retail prices of $4,995 for the PFP-7 and $6,995 for the PFP-11.Sony planned a major emphasis on its multi-channel high-resolution music format — SACD. Slated for presentation is the DVPNS900V DVD/SACD multi-channel player with progressive-scan video output capability. It is scheduled to ship in September at a $1,000 suggested retail price. The company will also feature a pair of less-expensive alternative SACD/DVD-Video combo models.
In video displays, the company will again demonstrate its fully integrated HDTV sets. A 34W-inch Wega model is shipping now, with a pair of rear-projection sets slated to follow in October. All three include iLINK 1394 digital interfaces and AVC control protocols.
Also slated is Sony's forthcoming Grand Wega rear-projection LCD-based HDTV monitor, which appeared at CES in prototype form, and the 40-inch 4:3 Wega direct-view HDTV monitor. The latter recently started shipping at a $3,499.95 suggested retail, and is expected to be part of the CEDIA showcase.
In front projectors, Sony was expected to show the new $3,000 VPL-VW-11HT 16:9 three-panel LCD-based model. The compact unit weighs 17 pounds and is shipping at a $7,999 suggested retail.
Thomson planned to give CEDIA dealers the lowdown on its recently launched high-end RCA Scenium product line, which replaces the former ProScan brand. Products expected for the show will include a 50W-inch plasma display panel PHD50300 (now available at a $14,999 suggested retail price) and the L50000, 50W-inch widescreen LCOS-based integrated rear projection HDTV set, which ships in September at a $6,999 suggested retail. Other highlighted RCA Scenium products include the company's first pair of HD-capable TruFlat direct view monitors in the 32-inch and 36-inch screen sizes D32TF20 ($1,799, now) and D36TF20 ($2,299, October).
Toshiba will give CEDIA dealers a peek at its new lineup of direct-view, plasma panel and rear projection HDTV monitors, including its expanded line of Cinema Series 16:9 HDTV monitors. The new line is billed as the industry's broadest selection with 17 HDTV-ready models. All direct view models use the company's IDSC II (Intelligent Digital Scan Conversion) technology, that automatically converts 480i images to 480p, and passes through 480p and 1080I signals. The new projection sets include IDSC Pro cirucuitry, which converts 480i and 480p images to a 540p format, and automatically passes through 1080i images. The system takes advantage of a single 33.75 kHz scan rate to improve image focus and gun convergence.
Zenith prepared to bring to CEDIA an arsenal of high-resolution TV display devices based on CRT, LCD, DLP and plasma display systems.
The highlight of the booth will be a 60W-inch plasma display panel (DPDP60W). The ultra-thin display boasts 350:1 contrast ratio, 16.7 million color palette and peak brightness capability of 200 candles/square meter. Resolution is listed at 1280x720, matching the 720p HD broadcast format, making it fully compatible with DVDs, computers, and digital broadcasting and multimedia.
The DPDP60W recently started shipping at $27,999.95 suggested retail .
Also slated are the PRO1200x ($29,995), PRO900x ($12,600) and PRO895X ($9,995) high-resolution CRT-based HDTV front projectors. The flagship PRO1200x features 8-inch CRT optics, while the 900x and 895x used 7-inch lenses.
In LCD, Zenith planned to show its 7.5-pound compact HD-compatible LCD-based front projector (LXG-120, $6,495). It uses three TFT LCD panels and lists 1200 ANSI lumens of light output. Resolution is listed as XGA (1024 x 768) making it compatible with HDTV, NTSC, NTSC 4.43, PAL, PAL-M, PAL-N, SECAM, UXGA/SXGA (compressed), SVGA and VGA sources.
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.