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Global CE Technology On Display At IFA

Projection television based on Digital Light Processing (DLP) and Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCOS) chips, new plasma TV screen sizes, and DVD audio and SACD products popped up as key themes at the recently concluded Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA), here.

Although the show traditionally focuses on the European consumer electronics marketplace, a handful of major manufacturers with global marketing strategies used the show to unveil a few key products for the U.S. market, as well.

Some of those included both larger and smaller plasma display panel screen sizes and a variety of DLP TV projectors (front and rear-screen) with indications of more aggressive pricing to come.

Companies showing monitors based on Texas Instruments’ next generation HD-1 Digital Micromirror DLP chip included Loewe, which showed a pair of prototype 50W-inch rear projections sets, Vestel, with two versions of forthcoming rear-projection DLPs, and Marantz, which showed a front projector using a version of the chip.

The following is a glance at what a few companies showed at IFA:

JVC executives at IFA announced the company would unveil its first direct-view HDTV monitor for the United States at this week’s CEDIA show. Model AV-36P902 will feature a 36-inch 4:3 flat-tube CRT and will be part of JVC’s I’ART direct view television lineup. The digital monitor will include two NTSC tuners for analog broadcast reception in 480i resolution. The monitor will show full 1080 top-to-bottom scan lines inside the letter-boxed frame using raster-collapsing technology. Signals received in the 480 EDTV format will be automatically upconverted to a 1080i scan rate.

Inputs for connection to out board digital television decoders include a pair of auto-sensing HD component video jacks in analog and a DVI interface for a digital connection. The set will carry a $2,399 suggested retail price when it ships in October, JVC said.

Panasonic, when not drumming up political support for the DVD-RAM recording format and DVD-Audio multi-channel music system, unveiled an adapter for a series of camcorders that will allow Bluetooth wireless transmission of still photos to modems or PCs.

Called the Studio 3 for Bluetooth, the package, which will be compatible with Panasonic digital video cameras/ camcorders introduced later than September 2001, will come bundled with three photo-processing software applications.

Thomson Multimedia unveiled a range of products that are also planned for the United States. The highlight of the booth was a next-generation giant 61-inch plasma display, produced at the PDP factory jointly owned by Thomson and its partner NEC. It will be marketed in Europe under the Thomson Wysius brand.

Another Wysius product was a European personal video recorder called the UDR (Unlimited Digital Recorder). The set-top recorder will offer enough capacity for 40 hours of TV recording or up to 8,000 digital photographs. It will include an electronic program guide and the ability to initiate program recording remotely through a telephone connection, Thomson said.

Under the Thomson Lyra series, the company announced a new hard-disk based Lyra Personal Jukebox (PDP 2800) that will be the first device with the ability to eventually play mp3PRO music compression format with enhanced resolution and storage capacity.

Thomson said the 10GB hard-disc drive will hold hundreds of albums, thousands of songs, and can be used as a remote hard drive to backup data files for a computer.

New in the Thomson Scenium line were widescreen 36-inch TV/DVD combination televisions w, a combination 200-watt home cinema amplifier with integrated DVD player and five speakers, a new DVD player with “Scene Again” and MP3 playback functions, and two new big-screen projection televisions.

For more IFA coverage see the Sept. 17, 2001, edition of TWICE.