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Thomson Rolls Out Expanded Digital TV Lines

Thomson formally unveiled its 2003-04 A/V home and portable entertainment product lines, including expanded models of flat-panel TVs, and nine fully integrated HDTV sets highlighted by a pair based on Texas Instruments’ Digital Light Processing (DLP) micro-display engines.

Other key product announcements include a hard-drive-based digital video recorder that will store and playback both standard and high-definition digital video images, a pair of ATSC over-the-air digital TV tuner boxes and a DVD recorder based on the DVD+RW/+R disc formats.

A total of 14 CRT-based HDTV displays will be offered under either the RCA or premium RCA Scenium flags, and are evenly split between fully integrated sets and DTV tunerless monitors.

New advanced features in integrated models include QAM digital cable tuning and built-in Web browsers.

RCA Scenium models include several step-up features including Thomson’s HiPix video processing technology.

In CRT-based fully integrated HDTV displays, the RCA Scenium line lists three widescreen models in the 52W-inch HD52W151 ($2,799), the 56W-inch HD56W151 ($3,099 August) and the 61W-inch HD61W151 ($3,299, August).

All include ATSC tuners with QAM digital cable demodulation, the Hi-Pix picture system and NetConnect Ethernet Web browsing, DVI-HDCP interface and two IEEE-1394 2-way interfaces with DTCP copy protection. RCA integrated models include the 52W-inch HD52W41 ($2,499, July) and 56W-inch HD56W41 ($2,799, July). Both incorporate built-in ATSC tuners with QAM and TruScan Digital Reality signal processing, two-way IEEE-1394 inputs with DTCP and a DVI-HDCP input.

In CRT rear-projection HD monitors, RCA Scenium models will include DVI-HDCP digital inputs. Models include the 52W-inch D52W136D, ($2,099, June), the 56W-inch (a new screen size) D56W136D ($2,499, July) and 61W-inch D61W136D ($2,899, June).

In the RCA line, a total of five HDTV monitors will be available. All add secure digital DVI-HDCP inputs and virtual Dolby surround sound. Models include the 61W-inch D61W20 ($2,499, September), the 56W-inch D56W20 ($2,199, June), the 52W-inch D52W20 ($1,799, now), the 40W-inch D40W20 ($1,499, now) and the 34W-inch direct view D34W20 ($1,999 now).

In DLP, Thomson said it would offer two RCA Scenium models based on TI’s HD-2 “Mustang” high-definition DLP chips with 1,280 by 720p resolution. Both include integrated ATSC tuners with QAM cable demodulation capability, built-in web browsers, DVI-HDCP digital input and a pair of two-way IEEE-1394 with DTCP.

The DLP models include the 50W-inch 16:9 HDLP50W151 ($3,999 suggested retail, shipping in August), which was previously unveiled at January’s CES, and the new 61W-inch 16:9 HDLP61W151 ($4,499, shipping in October), which Thomson bills as the industry’s largest DLP rear projection set.

RCA LCD-TVs are offered in three product families and include the 30W-inch, 27W-inch, 20-inch and 15-inch screen sizes, plus two models with integrated DVD players in the 15-inch and 12-inch screen sizes.

The premium LCD family encompasses two widescreen models and a 20-inch 4:3 model. The 30W-inch LCDX3022W (1,280 by 768 resolution) offers DVI-HDCP input and will ship in the late fall at a $3,200 suggested retail. The 27W-inch LCDX2722W (1,280 by 720 resolution) will ship this fall at $2,799. The 20-inch LCDS2022B (600 line, SVGA resolution) includes broadband component video inputs and ships this summer at $1,499.

In plasma, the company unveiled two RCA Scenium HDTV monitor panels in the 42W-inch and 50W-inch screen sizes.

The two plasma display models offer full HDTV resolution, 3D Y/C Digital Comb Filters, an Advanced On-Screen Menu System and front-panel buttons. The 50W-inch RCA Scenium PHD50500 lists 1,280 by 768 pixel resolution and ships this spring at a $9,999 suggested retail price. The 42W-inch RCA Scenium PHD42600 features 1,024 by 1,024 pixel resolution. It ships in the fall at $6,499.

In set-top DTV decoders, Thomson announced two units designed to receive over-the-air ATSC broadcasts will be available this summer. Model ATSC 21 combines ATSC and NTSC analog tuners at a $499 suggested retail.

Model ATSC 11 includes only the digital ATSC tuner and carries a $449 suggested retail.

Meanwhile, Thomson’s first HDTV-capable hard disc digital video recorder — model DVR10 ($449 suggested) — must be connected to a 1394-equipped integrated set or another brand of set-top box with 1394 output to make digital video recordings. The DVR, which ships this summer, incorporates an 80GB hard drive, said to be enough for 9 hours of HDTV recordings or 40 hours of standard definition digital programming at a time.

Meanwhile, Thomson fine-tuned its 2003 line of portable music players with the announcement of a 40GB hard-disc-drive (HDD) headphone stereo, making it what the company claimed is the highest capacity HDD portable announced to date.

The $329-suggested 40GB Lyra will ship in July with playback of MP3, MP3PRO, and Windows Media Audio (WMA) files.

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