It was Christmas in June for Philips Consumer Electronics, as the company gave members of the press a glance at some of the products it hopes will ignite the holiday selling season.
First on the list was digital television, which this year adds seven direct-view DTV monitors (four widescreen), eight rear-projection monitors (five widescreen), two 4:3 LCD panels and five widescreen plasma-display models. Distribution classes are distinguished with the expansion of the high-end Philips' Matchline series.
The key change to the Philips DTV line this year is the expansion of widescreen models. Last year, widescreen models were carried in the up-market and high-end models, but this year it has been added throughout the line.
Two thirds of the Philips projection television line has shifted to widescreen, and the company has stopped carrying analog rear-projection models altogether, except for a few models with left over inventory.
DTV Direct View: The highlights of the DTV line are a pair of Matchline widescreed "RealFlat" direct-view HDTV monitors, which incorporate Philips' new Pixel Plus technology. The system mixes line-doubling and pixel-doubling techniques with Philips' Digital Natural Motion picture processing to produce what Philips calls virtual HDTV-quality pictures from standard definition signal sources. Philips sees Pixel Plus as an important feature due to the still limited availability of HDTV programming.
Models include the 34W-inch 16:9 34PW9818 ($2,999 suggested retail), and the 30W-inch 16:9 30PW9818 ($2,399), both of which are shipping at the end of July. Optional matching stands will be available.
Flat-Panel TV: Philips showed two LCD 4:3 models in 15-inch (15PF9925, $1,499) and 20-inch (20PF9925, $2,199) screen sizes, both of which are shipping now. They give Philips a total of five LCD SKUs. The 20-inch panel lists a 400:1 contrast ratio, while the 15-inch model is rated at 300:1. Brightness is listed at 400-450 cd/m2 for both.
Philips' five plasma-display panels (PDPs) are now offered in the 32W-inch 42W-inch and 50W-inch widescreen sizes.
Two PDPs — the 50W-inch 50FD9934 ($13,999, October) and the 42W-inch 42FD9934 ($7,999, July) — are included in Philips' Matchline series. Both omit built-in speakers and boast HD resolution levels of 768x1365 pixels. Philips provides an optional outboard electronic box (e-box, $999) for the 50FD9934 that adds dual-NTSC-tuner split-screen PIP, a proprietary single cable connection, and a range of picture improvement technologies.
Core line PDPs include the 32W-inch 32FD9954 ($5,999, July) and 42W-inch 42FD9954 ($7,999, July).
DTV Rear projection: Widescreen rear-projection DTV monitors include the 46W-inch, 55W-inch and 60W-inch screen sizes. The Matchline series, which is due in July, includes the 55W-inch (55PP9502, $2,799) and 60W-inch (60P9502, $3,099). Core line widescreen rear-projection DTVs, which are now available, include the 46W-inch (46PP9302, $1,999), the 55W-inch (55PP9352, $2,499) and 60W-inch (60PP9352, $2,799). All produce 1080i and 480p native scan formats and include HD component video inputs.
Matchline models add a high-definition optics system that produces more than 1.512 million pixels, and DVI digital interfaces with HDCP copy protection.
DVD-Video/SACD players: Philips showed a pair of DVD-Video players with multichannel Super Audio CD (SACD) playback capability.
The DVD763SA is a combination progressive-scan DVD player and multichannel SACD audio player that just started shipping to dealers at a $249 suggested retail price.
The DVD962SA, shipping now at $599, is a DVD-V/SACD player that adds progressive-scan video output using Faroudja DCDi motion adaptive de-interlacing technology. Also, the company will offer in October the LX8000SA ($999.95) all-in-one home cinema system with multichannel multidisc DVD/SACD player, 250-watts of total power, and Philips' wOOx satellite speakers.
DVD+RW Recorders: Building on its previously announced DVDR985 DVD+RW recording deck, which is currently available at a $999 suggested retail, Philips unveiled the DVDRW228 DVD+RW PC drive, featuring DVD+R compatibility. The drive will function with DVD+RW, DVD+R, CD-RW or CD-R discs. The DVDRW228 lists maximum speed performance at 2.4x DVD+RW/ +R write, and 12x10x32x CD write. It is shipping now at a $479.99.
(For more on Philips' line, including Internet Micro Systems and portable MP3-CD players, seewww.TWICE.com.)