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Hitachi Line Adds LCoS RPTV Sets

New York – Stretching its core-competency capabilities, Hitachi expanded its flat-panel HDTV offerings and introduced its first three rear-projection HDTV sets based on Hitachi-made 1080p Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) microdisplay panels.

With the addition of the LCoS models in the 60W- and 70W-inch screen sizes, Hitachi created a three-step rear-projection technology assortment for 2005/2006. The LCoS models will join Hitachi’s LCD-based rear projection 720p HDTV sets and CRT-based rear-projection 1080i HDTV models.

“This is the time for LCoS because we wanted to have microdisplay products with the same [native 1080] performance capability for high-definition signals as our ALiS plasma products,” said Leo Delaney, Hitachi marketing VP. “We felt the cycle to mature the technology had reached the point to where we could put it in our products and get into mass production.”

In flat-panel TV, the company is offering a wider selection with both plasma and LCDs. Plasma models include one 42W-inch ED model, four 42W-inch HD models, and three 55W-inch HD models. All come from Hitachi’s plasma factory, formerly called FHP.

LCD TV models include the 26W-, 32W- and 37W-inch screen sizes this year, up from a single 32W-inch model last year.

The UltraVision HDS52 plasma series includes two high definition models in the 42W-inch 42HDS52 (June, $4,299 suggested retail) and the 55W-inch 55HDS52 (October, $5,799). Both include a new Vitural HD 1080p II 12-bit/68-billion color video processor, ATSC tuning, CableCARD slots, Learning AV NET IV infra-red repeater system for system integration, illuminated roll and click remote, USB input, dual HDMI inputs and dual wideband component video inputs. The 42W-inch models use Hitachi’s proprietary Alternate Lighting of Surfaces (ALiS) technology that provides “more pixels than any other technology in that screen size,” said Delaney.

The CineForm HDT52 Series includes to HD plasma models in the 42W-inch 42HDT52 (August, $4,399 suggested retail) and the 55W-inch 55HDT52 (October, $5,899 suggested retail). Both add to the HDS52 feature package a TV Guide On Screen electronic program guide system and IEEE-1394 interfaces.

Director’s Series CineForm plasma TVs include two high-definition models in the 42W-inch 42HDX62 (August, $5,499 suggested retail) and the 55W-inch 55HDX62 (October, $6,999). Both add to the HDT52 feature package, a high-end industrial design with high-gloss black highlights and learning AV NET IV IR system integration with easy remote.

Other plasma models include the 42W-inch high-definition 42HDF52 (June, $3,799) and enhanced definition 42EDF42 (August, $2,699). Both feature ATSC tuning, Vitual HD video processing and bottom mounted speakers to reduce cabinet width.

Adding to its “core competency” in component manufacturing, Hitachi plans to transition in 2006 to LCD panels produced at a new joint venture factory it owns with Matsushita and Toshiba.

“We know there is a huge replacement market for people who have 27-inch and larger direct view CRT products,” said Delaney. “We want to be in that marketplace with LCD because it is the most advantageous for those screen sizes. When we think of LCD it is screen sizes 26W-inches and above. We don’t intend to get into the smaller screen sizes.”

This year the line has been expanded with 26W-inch and 37W-inch screen sizes. Models in the HDL52 Series include the 26W-inch 26HDL52 (August, $1,999), the 32W-inch 32HDL52 (September, $2,699) and the 37W-inch 37HDL52 (October, $3,499). All feature 1,366-by-768 resolution, In-Plane Switching, SRS Sound Enhancement, VirtualHD processing ATSC tuning and titanium and black bezel cosmetics.

The CineForm Director’s Series will carry a new 32W-inch model in the 32HLX61 (June, $3,799), which adds a Virtual HD 1080p video processor, Super In-Plane Switching, IEEE-1394, dual HDMI inputs, and learning AV NET III IR system integration. CineForm high-gloss black cosmetics are also added.

Highlighting the rear-projection offerings this year are three 1080p LCoS HDTV sets using the CineForm light-engine design that allows reduced cabinet height, for a true flat-panel look when viewed straight on.

All three LCoS models include fully integrated ATSC tuning, digital CableCARD slots, TV Guide On-Screen electronic program guides, IEEE-1394 and HDMI inputs.

Sets will be offered in the 60W- and 70W-inch 16:9 screen sizes. One of each is included in the high-end Director’s Series, which is restricted to select A/V specialty dealers, and one 60W-inch model will be offered as a regional exclusive piece to qualifying CE and TV appliance accounts.

“We are concentrating on larger screen sizes [for LCoS] because we believe there is a collision coming with 42W- and 50W-inch plasma models, and in those screen sizes plasma will ultimately win over any microdisplay product” at comparable price points, Delaney said.

The regionally distributed CineForm 60T925 LCoS model (November, $5,299) features a 60W-inch 16:9 screen, 1080p resolution, dual focus lens system, CineForm cosmetics, and IEEE 1394 input.

In the Director’s Series, LCoS units are offered in place of last year’s LCD-based micro-display models. Models include the CineForm 60W-inch 60X927 (November, $6,499) and the 70W-inch (December, $8,499). Both add to the T925 feature package a learning AV NET IV system with simple remote, Digital Color Management III system that can store two settings – one for photo memory card input and one for other video sources – and Custom Color Temperature controls with four memories.

Many of this year’s 720p LCD rear projection models will be directed at national accounts and regional independent dealers. Screen sizes will include 50W-, 55W-, and 60W-inches.

The VF820 Series includes the 50W-inch (August, $3,099), the 55W-inch (September, $3,399) and the 60W-inch (August, $3,999) screen sizes. All feature a new Virtual HD 1080pII with 12-bit/68 billion color video processor, ATSC and NTSC tuners, CableCARD slots, dual HDMI and dual wideband component video inputs.

The CineForm VG825 series includes the 50W- (September, $3,199), 55W- (September, $3,499) and 60W-inch (September, $4,099) screen sizes. Added to the feature assortment are an illuminted roll and click remote, CineForm cosmetics, Learning AV Net IV IR integration system, and USB input.

Also offered is the 50W-inch 50V720 LCD rear projection HDTV with ATSC and NTSC tuning, CableCARD slot, VirtualHD 1080p II processing, high-contrast lens and HDMI input. It will ship in September at a $2,799 suggested retail.

Hitachi-branded CRT rear-projection models will include the 51W- (August, $1,999), 57W- (August, $2,399), and 65W-inch (August, $2,699) screen sizes, under the openly distributed F710A series. The nation and regionally distributed S852 series will include 51W- (September, $2,099) and 57W-inch (September, $2,299) models.

This year cabinet depth has been reduced. All feature ATSC tuners, CableCARD slots and HDMI imputs. The S825 series adds an illuminated roll-and-click remote, a Super Contrast 5-Element Lens System, and Super Contrast II CRT technology, for brighter and more accurate picture performance.

Also new in CRT rear projection this year, Hitachi is introducing 55W- and 61W-inch monitor-only HD models under its new Aspect brand. The line will be offered to mass merchants and warehouse club accounts that have not been part of Hitachi’s traditional distribution.

To differentiate the products from core Hitachi lines, only the Aspect logo will be visible on the front of the sets. Aspect SKUs are designed to hit lower price points (the company declined to announce pricing at this time), omitting tuners and using MDF cabinets and cloth grills, said Delaney.

In other news, Hitachi introduced its first multiple rewritable format DVD camcorder, which supports DVD-RW media, in addition to DVD-RAM and DVD-R discs. Model DZMV750MA is positioned as a step-up to the entry model in the four model DVD camcorder line.

The DZMV750MA features a 680,000 pixel CCD, full 16:9 capability, a 16x optical/240x digital zoom lens, SD and MMC Memory Card support, and composite video input.

Hitachi also added two LCD-based front projectors, joining the PX-100 high definition model. In August, the line will add a new entry model in the ED-PJ32 ($1,299 suggested retail) featuring enhanced definition 480p resolution. In September a new top- of the-line model — HD-PJ52 ($4,000 suggested retail) – will ship. That unit features 720p resolution, a dual-iris-system and a gloss-black cabinet.