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Mitsubishi Adds LCoS, Expands Flat-Panel Line

Mitsubishi introduced to dealers its 2003-04 product line featuring what it calls the ‘largest integrated rear-projection HDTV set’ — an 82W-inch LCoS-based unit with full 1,920-by-1,080 pixel display and input capability.

Called the ‘Alpha 82’ (WL-92913), the LCoS rear-projection set will carry a $20,999 suggested retail when it ships this fall. It will join the company’s 65W-inch, DLP rear-projection model, which continues in the lineup.

Mitsubishi marketing VP Bob Perry said the set incorporates an ATSC digital tuner, with QAM digital cable demodulation and improves upon some competitive LCoS 1080p models in the market by adding inputs that will accept full 1080p signal streams.

Competitive models, he said, have inputs that will accept only up to 1080i signals.

Perry said Mitsubishi was “not sending a message” about DLP technology by adding the LCoS model. He said the company will continue to evaluate and embrace multiple micro-display technologies like LCoS and DLP as they emerge and evolve in the marketplace.

The Alpha 82 is the highlight of an HDTV line that includes eight upgradable CRT rear-projection monitors, 11 fully integrated HDTV CRT rear-projection sets, five plasma display monitors (spread over two series) and two widescreen HDTV LCD televisions with integrated NTSC analog tuners.

The new HDTV rear-projection monitors will be offered in two series — the Silver, with prices ranging from $1,799 to $3,199 and the Silver Plus, with prices between $2,099 and $3,399. Each series features screen sizes of 42W-inch, 48W-inch, 55W-inch and 65W-inch.

Most models this year will include a new “PerfectColor System,” which enables independent control of six colors, and Advanced Multimedia Video Processing, which reduces artifacts in up converted images.

Fully integrated CRT rear-projection sets will be offered in four series:

  • Gold — including the 48W-inch ($2,999), 55W-inch ($3,299), 65W-inch ($3,799) and 73W-inch ($6,299) screen sizes. All include the NetCommand 3.0 on-screen home-theater control system with IR remote code learning capability and MonitorLink/DVI-HDCD inputs. Also added are five-format memory card readers with support for MP3 and WMA music and JPEG photo files. The 73W-inch model adds 9-inch CRT optics.
  • Gold Plus — including the 48W-inch ($3,299), 55W-inch ($3,599) and 65W-inch ($4,099) screen sizes. Added features in the Gold Series are QuadField Focus, upgraded cosmetics. Offered in the 55W- and 65W-inch models are two-way coaxial speakers for improved high and low frequency sound quality.
  • Platinum — including the 65W-inch ($4,799) and 73W-inch ($7,299) screen sizes. All add Tru-Focus lenses, improved two-way speakers, enhanced cosmetics and gold connectors. The 73W-inch models adds 9-inch CRT optics.
  • Diamond — including the 55W-inch ($4,999) and 65W-inch ($5,999) screen sizes. Added to these models are modern cosmetic designs, fine-pitch lenticular screens, and anti-glare DiamondShield screens. The 65W-inch model adds 9-inch CRT optics.

Perry said Mitsubishi may continue to offer 4:3 HDTV upgradable monitors for dealers who request them this year, but has elected to push only 16:9 widescreen models this year. The company re-introduced a small assortment of 4:3 models last year at the request of dealers.

In flat-panel TVs, Mitsubishi has added MonitorLink interfaces for connection to its new HD-5000 Promise set-top box with DTV tuning/decoding and home network control.

Two plasma display models are offered in the entry Platinum Series, including a 42W-inch EDTV (853 by 480 pixels) upgradable model and a 50W-inch HDTV (1,024 by 768 pixels) upgradable model. Prices will be announced later.

Three HD-level plasma monitors will be offered in the set-up Diamond Series, including a 1,024-by-768 pixel 42W-inch $7,499), a 1,366-by-768 pixel 50W-inch ($11,499) and a 1,366-by-768 pixel 61W-inch ($20,499).

Two widescreen HD-level LCD-TVs will be offered in the 22W-inch ($3,199) and 30W-inch ($5,199) screen sizes. Both models offer 768-by-1,280 pixel arrays and incorporate PerfectColor controls, NTSC and cable analog TV tuners and full PC input with VGA, SVGA, XGA and WXGA capability.

Mitsubishi will offer eligible dealers a flat-panel TV merchandising display.

Mitsubishi also announced a second generation to its Promise Module, which last year added ATSC tuning, NetCommand and digital interface capability to its HDTV monitors. This time the Promise Module takes the form of a set-top box, which will work with both Mitsubishi HDTV monitors, and for the first time, with any other vendor’s HDTV monitors.

The “HD-5000 Network Controller” carries a $1,699 suggested retail and offers a built-in ATSC over-the-air tuner with QAM cable demodulation and adds new IR learning NetCommand 3.0 with FAV HAVi home networking protocols, and IEEE-1394 with DTCP copy protection. This will allow early HDTV monitor purchasers to add advanced home networking capability and the ability to connect to digital recorders, even though their TVs lack digital interface connections. The controller’s outputs include HD component video and RGBHV.

Mitsubishi will carry three DVD players ($179-$299), including an entry progressive scan model. A step up carries onboard Dolby Digital 5.1 decoding, DVD-RW compatibility and DVD-Audio playback, while the top-end unit adds Faroudja DCDi video processing.

The company will also continue to carry a VCR line, carrying over its two D-VHS recorders from last year at new selling prices of $449 and $549, respectively.