Toshiba's TV department, which normally reserves new product announcements for its spring dealer show, is breaking from tradition this year and unveiling a number of new models here at International CES.
Highlights of the featured items include a 720 DLP line, new plasma TVs and two new screen sizes in LCD TV — 42W inches and 47W inches, both with 1,080p resolution.
In addition, the company is showcasing a number of new direct-view CRT models with integrated ATSC tuning to comply with recent March 2006 adjustments to the Federal Communications Commission's DTV tuner mandate.
Toshiba's flat-panel TV plans for 2006 include introduction of more than 25 distinctly different models, said Scott Ramirez, Toshiba TV marketing VP. The majority of those are LCD TVs, which Toshiba positions as a step-up option to plasma in larger screen sizes.
Positioned above LCD TV will be the first Toshiba/Canon-developed SED flat-panel TVs, which will feature “50W-inch plus” screen sizes. Toshiba's first SED products are expected to be introduced later in the year, but Ramirez said 36W-inch demonstration models are openly displayed at Toshiba's CES booth to allow attendees to evaluate the technology's high contrast and color performance.
“Our company is investing heavily in LCD and in SED technologies this year,” said Ramirez, adding that the company is also carrying plasma TVs in 2006 as “mainstream” products. “We need to make significant share gains in the LCD area, and we have the lineup do it. We will be taking an aggressive stance at retail to make that happen.”
All LCD models from 20 inches to 47W inches have a new “family look” cosmetic design, he said.
In LCD, response times move from 12ms in 2005 to 6-8ms, and video processing moves from 8-bit to 12-bit processing with 4,096 levels of gradation in 2006.
Highlighted products on display here include 42W- inch and 47W-inch models with 1,080p resolution.
In plasma TV, Toshiba is showing new early introduction TheaterWide models in the 42W-inch and 50W-inch screen sizes with 720p resolution. The models feature a new chassis and cosmetic design.
Toshiba will start shipping new 720p DLP high-definition, rear-projection sets in the 50W-inch 50HM66 (April) and 56W-inch 56HM66 (May) models.
The company, which is exiting the CRT rear-projection category entirely in 2006, will announce more DLP models including six new 1,080p pieces at its spring line show.
Both 720p models incorporate a new Talen 5 light engine, including Texas Instruments' HD5 DLP chip and new Brilliant Color 2 technology. In addition, Toshiba will continue its brightness advantage with the Hi-Bright Radiance 150-watt lamp.
Both models also include new PixelPure Pro 12-bit video processing, running at a 333 MHz rate to produce more natural images. Toshiba said the technology provides real speed progressive scanning, increased dynamic range, increased sharpness, improved video noise reduction and dynamic gamma.
The biggest change in the line, he said, will be a new cosmetic look that incorporates the SoundStrip speaker technology used in select flat-panel models last year. In DLP, the approach allows a very small cabinet design.
“The height and width in the scoop design of our new 50W-inch DLP is actually smaller than our 50W-inch plasma model,” Ramirez said. “This is different than anything we've had before and should really catch people's attention.”
DLP sets will be offered in both silver for TheaterWide and black for Cinema Series models, he added.
In digital direct-view CRT, Toshiba is shipping eight different models in the first quarter.
“Although not a growth area, the direct-view CTV category is still a big business. This year the industry may hit 17 million units, with 7 million of those being integrated,” said Ramirez. “As the leading manufacturer in this category, Toshiba is committed to continue to fulfill the needs of our consumers and our retailers.”
New models include a pair of FST Pure widescreen HDTV models — the 26HF66 (26W-inches) and 30HF66 (30W inches). Both offer 1,080i native resolution and include HDMI/HDCP digital inputs and two sets of ColorStream HD component video inputs. Speakers are bottom-mounted to save on vertical space for cabinet placement.
Toshiba is also introducing four FST Pure standard-definition models shipping between February and March.
All eight models come with NTSC, ATSC and QAM tuning for digital cable in the clear.
The 26DF56 (26W inches) and 30DF56 (30W inches) are widescreen models, while the 27DF46 (27-inch) and 32DF46 (32-inch) are flat-tube 4:3 sets.
All four models offer 480i display resolution, ColorStream inputs and come in a silver with dark gray bezel design.
The new 27D46 (27-inch) and 32D46 (32-inch) models offer curved picture tubes, with 480i resolution, ColorStream inputs and silver cabinets with dark gray cosmetics.