Thomson used CES to announce its sponsorship of February’s Super Bowl telecast in the widescreen 480p Enhanced Definition Television DTV format on the FOX Network.
Mike O’Hara, Thomson worldwide sales and marketing executive VP, said his company would supply FOX with widescreen production equipment, including a dozen broadcast cameras and several digital slow-motion systems made by its professional broadcast equipment unit. FOX will use the same equipment for both the digital ATSC and analog NTSC broadcasts. The network said the digital production would air on 18 FOX owned and operated stations, representing more 40 percent of the country.
The effort will coordinate with an ambitious 2002 DTV marketing plan that includes a line of next-generation RCA Scenium digital television sets and monitors, including fully integrated models with IEEE-1394 and DVI digital connectors.
Meanwhile, Thomson announced plans for the “RCA Life” line of colorfully styled portable entertainment products, plans to introduce this year a 15-model line of direct view televisions with direct component video connections to Microsoft’s Xbox game platform, and also announced a line of portable- and kitchen-centric DVD players with integrated LCD screens.
In other announcements, Thomson said it would leverage the Technicolor trademark from its industrial film production and encoding unit for a line of inexpensive write-once memory cards (initially in the MMC format) for digital cameras, PDAs and mp3 players. Thomson will position the memory cards as a digital alternative to photo film, adding that a card holding 75 digital photos would cost about the same as the film needed to capture 75 35mm photos.
New RCA Scenium digital TVs include a 61W-inch fully integrated rear projection model incorporating the Microsoft Windows CE operating system and featuring both the DVI-HDTV and IEEE-1394 digital interface connections for HD cable and satellite programming. The Windows operating system, combined with an Ethernet connection, provides for present and future digital home networking applications such as broadband web processing (including Internet browsers) and product software upgrades. Features in the HD61W140 include Gemstar Interactive TV Guide, 3:2 pulldown processing for digital transmissions, 60 watts total audio power, 7-band graphic equalizer, fully enclosed speaker system, and SRS TruSurround/Focus surround sound capability.
Also slated is the RCA Scenium D40W135D 40W-inch rear projection HDTV monitor with a built-in DVD player and progressive scan capability. It features advanced signal connections including “SYNCROSCAN” component video inputs and DVI-HDTV video connections for high-definition cable and satellite programming. Also included are built-in 3DYC digital comb filter for smoother, sharper color images, automatic letterbox detection, auto CRT convergence, 10-watt per channel audio power, 5-band graphic equalizer, and front A/V connections.
The highlight of the company’s TV combo line will be the RCA Scenium D34W135D 34W-inch flat glass 16:9 widescreen direct-view digital TV with built-in DVD player. The unit also includes advanced signal connectors including SYNCROSCAN component video inputs and DVI-HDTV video connections. An exclusive feature is a “Clip’On” frame system, which allows consumers to choose from multiple colors of decorative accent frames.
Another combo product with a lifestyle focus is the RCA under-the-counter LCD TV with DVD, CD and AM-FM radio. The DLD548 features a 5.6-inch fold-down color LCD swivelscreen designed for mounting under kitchen counters or office shelves. Features include a built-in clock and a one-touch button to toggle between the TV and an external video source, or optional security camera. The DVD player also plays CDs, and CD-Rs/mp3 through built in stereo speakers.
New in personal video recording is the second-generation RCA-DirecTV UltimateTV terminal with an 80GB hard drive. The RCA DWD495RG ($399 suggested) set-top receiver uses a built-in 80GB hard disk drive capable of storing up to 70 hours of DirecTV programming — twice as much as previous models.
In digital music players, the company announced it will soon offer a next generation LYRA in an ultra-compact design, and announced it will ship this spring a LYRA Personal Jukebox equipped with a hard drive capable of storing up to 300 hours of music stored in the mp3PRO format. The RD2800 uses a USB connection to a PC and has $299 suggested retail.