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Pioneer To Ship Blu-ray Disc Player In April

Las Vegas — Pioneer will unveil at International CES as the highlights of its 2006 video lineup its first Blu-ray disc player for the U.S. market and a 50W-inch 1,080p plasma monitor.

The high-definition disc player will be sold under the company’s “Elite” premiere products brand as model BDP-HD1. It is slated to ship to dealers in April at a price to be announced later, Pioneer said.

The company is also unveiling three new DVD players and a pair of DVD recorders at the show.

The Blu-ray disc player will output up to full 1,920 by 1,080p high-definition video signals over HDMI/HDCP connectors, making it one of the first source components for new classes of 1,080p high-definition TV displays.

In addition to new Blu-ray Discs, Pioneer said the player will playback DVD-R/-RW, DVD-RAM and DVD+R/RW discs. It will also be compatible with the WMV, DiVX, DiVX-HD and MPEG-2 video formats.

Compatible audio formats will include WMA, MP3 and LPCM, and the player also displays JPEG image files. In addition to the aforementioned HDMI/HDCP output, the BDP-HD1 will include a IEEE-1394 (i.LINK) digital interface with DTCP content protection.

The deck will be DLNA compliant for IP networking capability, Pioneer said. Currently networked homes can link all video and audio components to the player to share content. The system also features DTS-HD and Dolby Digital Plus for high-resolution audio formats.

Pioneer’s new native 1,080p plasma monitor — model PRO-FHD1 — will ship in June at a price to be announced. The 1,920 by 1,080p monitor will have a 50W-inch screen size, with double the amount of pixels found in current 50W-inch models, Pioneer said.

Key features include Pioneer’s Pure Crystal Emissive Layer and First Surface PureColor Filter technology, which makes efficient use of smaller pixels in plasma cells and Deep Encased Cell Structure to improve brightness and image accuracy.

The company’s PureDrive III signal processing system allows for low noise, high contrast and natural color images.

New in DVD players will be the Pioneer brand DV-696AV-K universal DVD player with HDMI output. The unit is slated to ship in June at a $149 suggested retail.

The player is compatible with the DVD-R/-RW and CD-R/-RW disc formats, and will playback WMA, MP3 two-channel audio files as well as DVD-Audio and SACD multichannel music files. It also allows users to view DivX9 files, and with its Photoview function, to view JPEGs.

Video is handled with Pioneer’s proprietary PureCinema progressive scan system, and the HDMI output will carry up converted signals to high-definition displays.

Also shipping in June is the DV-490V-S ($129) DVD player with HDMI output and video up-conversion for high-definition displays. Other features include compatibility with DVD-R/-RW and CD-R/-RW discs and with WMA and MP3 music files. It also incorporates PureCinema progressive scan technology and will playback JPEG photo viewer and DiVX video files.

The new entry DVD player will be the DV-393, which ships in May at a $69 suggested retail price. The slim-design unit will playback DVD-R/-RW, CD-R/-RW, WMA and MP3 files as JPEG images. It also include PureCinema video processing. New for a Pioneer entry model is the addition of DivX video compatibility.

In DVD recorders, Pioneer will introduce the model DVR-640H-S, which ships in June at a $399 suggested retail. The deck incorporates a 160GB hard drive and is compatible with DVD-R/-RW, DVD+R/+RW and DVD-RAM media, so users can record content onto any disc type.

The recorder features up to 24 hours of DVD-R dual layer recording capability, and will play JPEG, DivX, WMA and MP3 digital files.

A Digital Jukebox feature will allow ripping audio CDs to the unit’s hard drive. Other features include 55x high-speed copying to DVD, which allows the system to record a one-hour program faster and easier to 16x media than previous generations.

Also shipping in June is the model DVR-540H-S ($299) DVD recorder with a built-in 80GB hard drive. Features include DVD-R/-RW, DVD+R/+RW and DVD-RAM. It will also play JPEG, DiVX, WMA and MP3 files, includes the Digital Jukebox feature and offers 55x high-speed audio CD ripping to the hard drive.