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Sony Unwraps SXRD HDTV

Sony used a pre-CEDIA Expo press conference, here, to formally unveil its first rear-projection digital- cable-ready HDTV set based on its silicon crystal reflective display (SXRD) technology.

Model KDS-70XBR100 will be placed in Sony’s high-end XBR television family and not the elite high-end QUALIA Series it used to introduce its first consumer SXRD product — the QUALIA 004 front-projector it first announced last year.

The new rear-projection set will incorporate three SXRD panels to produce a native resolution of 1,920 by 1,080 progressively displayed pixels. Although Sony uses its SXRD term for the technology, the core chip is said to be very similar to LCoS and D-ILA products currently marketed by other manufacturers.

A microdisplay rear-projection technology, SXRD is said to produce a very high-resolution, pure color system with virtually no discernable “screen-door” effect or pixel cross-hatching found in some other competitive technologies. The picture quality of the system demonstrated at the press event showed a remarkably clear and bright picture with an apparently high contrast and black-level performance.

The KDS-70XBR100 will have a 70W-inch 16:9 screen size and is slated to ship early in 2005 at an expected suggested retail price of $10,000. The product will incorporate both NTSC analog and ATSC digital broadcast tuners, QAM digital cable demodulation and a CableCARD slot for digital cable ready capability. Sony will incorporate a specially developed 200-watt lamp for high brightness and the contrast ratio was said to be 3,000:1. The set will also employ a “special internal cooling system” to deal with the high lamp wattage.

Video will be enhanced using Sony’s previously announced WEGA Engine system, while audio will be supplied using Sony’s S-Master digital amplifier with detachable speakers.

Inputs will include HD component video and HDMI with HDCP. An iLINK (IEEE-1394) interface will also be offered, Sony said.