Indianapolis - Sony used CEDIA Expo to formally unveil a range of new video display products highlighted by its Grand Wega rear-projection HDTV monitor that is based on three widescreen LCD panels.
A demonstration of the monitor during the press conference revealed a bright, sharp high-definition picture with greater contrast and color saturation than earlier demonstrations of prototype Grand Wega models, and generally brighter than most conventional CRT-based rear projection displays. Sony said it plans to sell the product for about $8,000 starting in early 2002.
Unlike a smaller prototype shown at CES, the first production model of the Grand Wega (KF-60DX100) will have 60W-inch screen size. The three 1.35-inch high-resolution widescreen LCD panels have XGA resolution, which combine to produces 3.15 million dots on screen. Sony said the first Grand Wega would use analog HD component video inputs to connect with set-top decoder boxes. Neither the IEEE-1394 nor the DVI digital interfaces will be included in the initial unit, the company said.
A core component of the new technology is a tri-component screen, employing freznel, lenticular and double-coated, high-contrast techniques. Video processing will include Sony's Cinemotion 2:3 pulldown and Digital Reality Creation (DRC) conversion systems.
In other video announcements, the company said:
* The entire direct-view CRT television line will use flat-screen Wega picture tubes by 2003.
* It will offer its first plasma monitor with built-in tuner and speakers. The 16:9 screen can display high-definition programming and can be connected to cable boxes or satellite receivers through HD component and S-video connections as well as computers through RGB inputs.
* The video front-projector lineup will be expanded with two new LCD-based models, including the new ultra-small VPL-HS1, which Sony dubbed "Cineza." The projector features high-definition capability, SideShot digital keystone correction and a Memory Stick media slot for displaying digital pictures and videos. The projector is currently shipping at a $2,999 suggested retail price.
Also shipping is the VPL-VW11HT ($7,999 suggested retail) LCD front projector, which includes an enhanced contrast ratio in both Cinema Black and regular mode to render consistent black levels even during low-light operation. It includes Cinemotion 2:3 pulldown.
In other announcements, Sony unveiled a pair of next-generation standard-definition DirecTV set-top decoders. Model SAT-B65 ($149 suggested retail) includes an Advanced Program Guide and DirecTV Interactive. It ships in November at a $149 suggested retail price.
Model SAT-A65 ($249 retail, shipping in November ) adds on-screen caller ID, a sleek, silver frame and Dolby Digital capability.