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Panasonic To Ship Progressive DVD Player

Following on the heels of its recent decision to market the first consumer HD-capable D-VHS VCR, Panasonic said it plans to be the first to sell a progressive-scan DVD player, the DVD-H1000, this October.

Panasonic originally introduced the player at this year’s CES, with the caveat that its release would depend on the approval of a copy-protection system for the high-definition Y-Pb-Pr outputs, which created “issues” for the Macrovision copy-protection system that is commonly used on conventional analog video recorders.

Panasonic said it believes the issues with Macrovision have been resolved, clearing the way for the October delivery. The company said the DVD player will carry a $2,999 suggested retail price.

Meanwhile, Toshiba, which was the first to announce plans for a progressive-scan DVD player (model SD5109, later revised to SD7108) back in 1998, has still not announced delivery plans for the product.

“We have announced that we will start shipping our progressive-scan DVD player as soon as copy protection has been worked out. We are sticking to that,” said Steve Nickerson, Toshiba marketing VP. “Having been burned once on this, we are not comfortable announcing delivery plans at this time. I hope it will be sooner rather than later.”

Similarly, a spokesman for Pioneer, which has announced a combination progressive-scan DVD video and DVD-Audio player, would not disclose delivery plans for its product. However, it is scheduled to be demonstrated at the upcoming CEDIA show in Indianapolis.

Panasonic’s progressive-scan DVD technology allows high-resolution DVD images, which are encoded to disc in the progressive-scan format, to be sent on to new digital television displays in the 480 progressive (480p) scan format. This allows pictures with greater detail and without the artifacts produced by traditional interlace scanning systems.

The result is a more film-like image that is equivalent to the 480p SDTV picture format in the new ATSC digital television standard.

The DVD-H1000 includes two sets of component video outs: the standard DVD outputs that produce 480 interlaced images, and the second broadband Y-Pb-Pr outputs needed for 480p material. Also included are two S-video outs, composite video outputs, digital optical outputs and two coaxial outputs.