LAS VEGAS -Expected to be highlighting an assortment of new technologies at Sony’s CES booth is the first 40-inch Wega direct-view Hi-Scan digital TV monitor; an LCD-based rear-projection Hi-Scan monitor called “Grand Wega”; and a Wireless Home IT device using a removable LCD screen.
Sony said its first 40-inch Wega TV (model KV-40XBR700) would feature a 4:3 aspect ratio, twin NTSC-tuner picture-in-picture capability, two sets of HD component video inputs, and 480i, 480p and 1080i native scan-rate capability.
A Sony spokesperson said the jumbo Wega model is scheduled to ship in October at a $3,299 suggested retail.
Like Sony’s previously announced KV-34XBR400 Wega model, the new Hi-Scan monitor will incorporate the Digital Reality Creation (DRC-X) format-conversion technology for handling letterboxed HDTV images and Multi Image Driver (MID) circuitry for handling multi-DTV formats on the screen at one time.
The set will also be compatible with 3/2 pull-down video-processing systems used in many progressive-scan DVD players and other video-processing devices optimized to upconvert film-based signal sources.
Meanwhile, in the weeks leading up to the show, plans were still being finalized on the Grand Wega product, but a spokesperson said the television chosen for a “sneak preview” of the technology would feature a 16:9 screen of undetermined size.
A special wide-angle lens technology enables Sony to produce an ultra-thin cabinet depth. The Grand Wega model announced by Sony overseas carries a 50-inch screen size and a cabinet depth of 15.12 inches.
Among the display’s other more exceptional capabilities is a brightness level closer to that of a 36-inch direct-view set than most rear-projection displays, Sony said.
Grand Wega Hi-Scan monitors will be capable of displaying ATSC Digital Television broadcast formats at scan rates roughly equivalent to 625i and 768p. Resolution is said to be 3.15 million pixels emitted by three LCD panels of 1.05 million pixels each.
The screen for the set is a tri-component composition carrying Freznel, reticular and anti-reflective characteristics.
Sony expects to ship the first Grand Wega models in “late 2001 or 2002,” the spokesperson said. Product specifics were uncertain at press time, but an equivalent price point of $10,000 was estimated for a 50-inch model.
Other features of the sets will include Sony’s proprietary DRC and MID circuitry, Sony said.
Sony will showcase for the first time in North America its Wireless Home IT TV, which had been displayed under the name “Airboard” at the CEATEC Show in Japan. The unit will feature a removable 10.4-inch TFT LCD screen that will act as both a visual monitor and as a touch-screen panel for data entry.
An onscreen soft-key pad is planned for typing in text, the Sony spokesperson said. The screen is said to “slide off” of a base terminal, and a wireless connection is made between the screen and the terminal. A dial-up 56.6-Kbps modem is included, as are outputs for connection to a TV, DVD or VCR.
The product is expected to ship in Japan this month, but introduction plans and pricing were not known for the United States at press time.
Other new products slated for Sony’s booth include the company’s version of the previously announced UltimateTV, which is a combination personal video recorder, DirecTV receiver and WebTV terminal.
Sony’s unit, model SAT-W60, will ship this month at a $449 suggested retail price, including a wireless keyboard and hard drive capable of storing up to 35 hours of high-resolution DirecTV video in bitstream form. It also offers dual tuners, enabling the simultaneous viewing of one program while recording a second channel to the hard drive.
The model SAT-W60 will join Sony’s SAT-T60 DirecTV/TiVo recorder, which started shipping prior to Christmas.
Sony also planned a demonstration of its new digital cable-TV converter box that it developed under contract with Cablevision. Cablevision has said it expects to deploy the first of the Sony devices in its territories this year.