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Thomson Unveils Super-Thin DLP Televisions

Thomson unveiled during International CES a new line of DLP-based rear-projection HDTV sets that will use an InFocus developed light engine that makes possible cabinet depths of under seven inches.

Thomson will aggressively market the new “Profiles” series sets as viable hang-on-the-wall alternatives to pricier flat-panel displays. The new DLPs will be part of the RCA Scenium premium line and will have fully integrated ATSC tuners and CableCARD digital cable plug-and-play capability. Cabinet depths will measure as little as 6.85 inches.

In other DLP products, Thomson introduced eight widescreen DLP HDTVs — all of which are digital-cable-ready — in cabinets as thin as 16 inches deep and weighing under 100 pounds. The 2004 DLP line comprises eight RCA Scenium HDTV sets in 61-, 50- and 44-inch screen sizes. New Profiles series 6.85-inch-thin models, due later this year, will include 50W-inch and 61W-inch sizes, both with widescreen 16:9 aspect ratios. They are expected to carry suggested retails of $8,999 and $9,999, respectively. Thomson said it plans to add a 70W-inch version in 2005.

The Profiles HDTV sets are part of an expanded line of more than a dozen new RCA and RCA digital-cable-ready HDTV sets that will answer the Federal Communications Commission’s mandate for integrated tuning/decoding of terrestrially-broadcast digital TV signals.

The new integrated ATSC and digital-cable-ready models will be offered later this year in screen sizes ranging from widescreen 40W-inch sets up to the 61W-inch ultra-thin Profiles HDTV models.

In 2004, Thomson will add the High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) with HDCP copy protection to its most advanced products, an interface that is backward-compatible with DVI-HDTV digital video connections on current set-top receivers.

Thomson said its 2004 digital-cable-ready HDTV sets will all detect the broadcast flag, the FCC-endorsed digital- TV broadcast content-protection technology that is designed to prevent the illicit flow of HDTV content to the Internet for redistribution.

Thomson will offer 17 new rear-projection CRT HDTV sets and HDTV monitors, direct-view, LCD and plasma models in both the RCA and RCA Scenium lines. Screen sizes will include 40-, 52-, 56W-, and 61W-inch sizes —including some with analog tuners and secure digital connections and some with integrated DVD players.

The company will carry two HDTV plasma displays in the 42W- and 50W-inch screen sizes, and will expand its offering of LCD monitors to include a 30W-inch widescreen model and 27-inch and 23-inch models with built-in DVD players.

LCD units feature native 720p resolution and DVI connections with HDCP copy protection. Rounding out its complete range of digital HDTV products are three new direct-view HDTV monitors with TruFlat picture tubes. The line will have 27-inch, 30-inch, and 32-inch models — all with secure connections for HDTV sources.

Thomson also announced the RCA DTC210 set-top ATSC tuner and HD-capable DirecTV satellite tuner. The set-top receiver ships in February at a $599 suggested retail.

In other product news, Thomson said it plans to enable support for secure Windows Media downloads and will enable consumers to easily purchase secure digital content from services such as MusicMatch and other services in new MP3 playback devices. The addition will make for “more fully functional products that both take advantage of compressed audio and ensure a secure method for consumers to pay for the audio entertainment,” the company said.

New RCA LYRA portable MP3 music devices include five portable models, including 40GB and 20GB jukebox players with a 1.8-inch hard-disk drive, a pocket-sized Micro Jukebox and two flash-memory-based personal digital MP3 players, all of which include FM tuners, FM recording capabilities and advanced file sorting options.

The RCA LYRA adds MPEG-4 in-device encoding and video playback.

For its ATLINKS telephone business, Thomson also said it will launch this year its first RCA-branded telephone products, designed especially for the growing small office/home office (SOHO) marketplace. An RCA Executive Series will include four telephone models, including a modern-styled silver and black conference phone and three innovative multi-line speakerphones.

The first models in the RCA Executive Series will be available in February, with additional models in the spring. As this new line of telephones expands in the second half of 2004, enhanced features and capabilities will be added. The RCA Executive Series telephones will be distributed through nationally recognized office superstore retailers.