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P-DVD Models Bow At CEDIA

Last week’s CEDIA Show in Indianapolis proved to be the launching pad for advanced DVD players with progressive-scan output capability.

Looking to protect its claimed status as the first to introduce a progressive-scan DVD player, Toshiba used the show to unveil its first two models, one of which was to go on sale at select retailers this month. Toshiba had been the first to announce plans to market a progressive-scan player last year, but was forced to postpone delivery after Hollywood objected to an inadequate copy-protection system for the player’s broadband component video outputs.

Having a few extra months to play with, Panasonic tried to outdo Toshiba by announcing last month that it would market a progressive-scan DVD player this fall. In fact, the company was scheduled to sell its first player in the U.S. tonight at a send-off event planned for a Ken Crane’s outlet in Los Angeles. The store was to take orders for the players, which would be delivered to customers on the November 1 launch date, sources said.

Jockeying for position, Toshiba had executives from the H.H. Gregg chain on hand to announce plans to sell the first Toshiba unit, model SD-9100, in October.

Meanwhile, Princeton, which has previously sold only video display components, used CEDIA to unveil its plans for a progressive-scan-capable DVD player due late this year.

In issuing product details, Toshiba said its new flagship player will be the SD9100, which offers ColorStream PRO (component Y-Pb-Pr) outputs to send non-interlaced video signals to progress-scan-capable video monitors, including many HDTV-ready displays now on the market.

Toshiba said the SD9100 soon would be joined by the “SD5109 [a twin-tray player] to create the industry’s most comprehensive product line of high-performance progressive-scan DVD-Video players.”

Craig Eggers, Toshiba DVD and audio products planning director said, “Toshiba was the first to develop and demonstrate a progressive scan DVD-Video player, and the first to introduce a TV with ColorStream HD progressive-scan video inputs. With the announcement of the SD9100 and the SD5109, Toshiba now fulfills our promise to our customers to offer DVD-Video players fully capable of displaying movies the way the director intended them to be seen.”

The SD9100 will go on sale next month at a $1,999.95 suggested retail price. The SD5109 will debut in October at $999.95.

Eggers said the SD9100’s progressively scanned image produces “enhanced vertical and temporal resolution and improved brightness without any compromise in color or contrast.” This will enable viewers to sit closer to the screen without detecting image artifacts such as scan lines.

In addition to high-performance video, the unit has an advanced audio-performance design. It is compatible with both Dolby Digital and DTS digital surround sound discs and includes a built-in Dolby Digital decoder. Other features are advanced delta-sigma 24-bit/96kHz D/A audio converters, jitter-reduction, re-clocking and filtering circuitry, and two audiophile-grade polypropylene film capacitors. It also adds Spatializer N-2-2 virtual surround sound circuitry for two-channel systems,

Model SD5109 is a twin-tray model offering progressive-scan output in addition to a 10-bit video D/A converter, Dolby Digital and DTS digital output, 24-bit/96kHz audio DACs, and built-in Dolby Digital decoding. It will also decode the HDCD tracks of advanced audio CDs.

Princeton’s player will deliver progressive-scan video to high-end multi-scan monitors, including its own line of HDTV-ready direct-view monitors, and projectors via 75-ohm BNC connectors. Princeton said its player would enable viewers to select resolution formats of standard 480i/30 signals and native 480p at frame rates up to 120fps. The price for the unit was not yet determined, but Princeton said it will be available in the fourth quarter.