Breakthrough HDTV Pricing By Thomson

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Breakthrough pricing on HDTV direct-view re-ceivers led a series of Thomson MultiMedia product an-nouncements and initiatives across several categories on the eve of CES 2000.

The company's flagship direct-view HDTV model, a 38" widescreen unit, will carry a suggested retail of $3,999 when introduced by midyear.

"We're determined that it's time to jump start the sales of HDTV," said Michael O'Hara, senior VP-Americas. "HDTV will now be available at less than $4,000 - a stunning 50 percent drop in suggested retail pricing from last year's CES."

The 38" set will be sold under the RCA brand, while a 34" widescreen direct-view set under the ProScan label will be available at the same time for $3,499. Meanwhile, widescreen 65" ProScan and 61" RCA rear-projection models will also be available this year. Suggested retail pricing will be available later.

The tubes for the 38" and 34" HDTV direct-view sets will be produced at its Marion, Ind., facilities, which just completed a $20 million widescreen HDTV picture tube investment.

As part of its HDTV effort, Thomson announced plans to sponsor the HDTV telecast of NCAA Men's Final Four basketball tournament that will be produced by CBS and broadcast nationally. The event will be staged at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis during early April.

Also in HDTV, Thomson acknowledged the popularity of its receiver, the DTC100, which received over-the-air analog and digital TV broadcasts, as well as standard and HDTV satellite programming from HDTV.

Shipments have begun of the first digital satellite TV receivers that allow local channel capability, interactivity, and other features. The new receivers and a new 24" dish will be necessary in some cities where local channel service is offered by DirecTv.

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