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HP Announces Wi-Fi LCD TV Plans

Expanding on new digital television display entries in plasma and DLP rear projection, Hewlett-Packard introduced a line of LCD TVs and announced plans to launch next year LCD-TV models with integrated Wi-Fi home networking capability.

HP will ship this fall three LCD TVs in the 26W-inch, 32W-inch and 37W-inch screen sizes. All feature built-in ATSC tuners and digital CableCARD slots.

The line utilizes a variety of HP proprietary picture-enhancement technologies to achieve, among other things, a 4,000:1 contrast ratio.

All models feature HP’s proprietary 3D Color Enrichment System and Photo-Realistic Sharpness Enhancement. The company also includes in the sets an automatic ambient light adjustment system that combines ambient light information with scene-by-scene light information to optimize the brightness level of the display for the room, regardless of the time of day.

All of the models feature a new industrial design with a polished acrylic bezel and detachable side-mounted speakers.

HP said the new panels also offer a broad supply of connectivity options, including HDMI-HDCP, VGA-compatible DVI and two IEEE-1394 ports.

Next year, HP plans to market LCD TVs incorporating what it calls “a wireless networking antenna,” which will allow the TV to connect via wire or wirelessly to a remote PC using a router. The system will allow users to access music, pictures and video content from the Internet or the PC’s hard drive for display on the TV screen.

“The system turns a PC into a universal plug-and-play media server,” said Alex Thatcher, HP’s digital TV solutions product marketing manager. “After it is set up you can play music, watch a slide show while listening to music, and play a video.”

By the time the networking TVs are ready to ship, HP plans to announce partnerships with key video content suppliers offering video Internet services, Thatcher said.

The software, which ships with the system, includes an interface developed in-house by HP. The software will support a variety of digital rights management systems, including Windows DRM.

Thatcher said HP is initially including the networking system in unspecified LCD TVs in a effort to “build a platform” that could eventually spread to other display technologies in HP’s line.