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Toshiba Unveils Flat-Screen HDTV

Gearing up for significant growth of HDTV-capable monitors this year, Toshiba introduced here its first widescreen direct-view set with a truly flat screen.

The CW34X92 flat-screen 16:9 direct-view HDTV-ready set highlight a range of new video products announced here Wednesday.

The monitor will include two sets of HD component video inputs, two NTSC tuners, and line-doubling circuitry. It will present HDTV signals in its native 1080i scan format and started shipping this month at a $4,499 suggested retail price.

Scott Ramirez, Toshiba America product management director, said he expects the market for widescreen sets to double in this year. Factors contributing to this estimate include increased sales of progressive-scan DVD players, including models recently introduced by Toshiba, and increased availability HDTV programming from terrestrial broadcasters and satellite providers.

Ramirez said Toshiba led the industry in its assortment of widescreen HDTV-ready sets and its range of digital and digital-ready TV products in 1999. The company plans to maintain that lead.

The Toshiba executive said Toshiba held a number-two (23%) market share position in DTV-ready sets last year, with the bulk of that coming in the second half. Since November, he said, Toshiba’s share grew to 23%.

Beyond digital television, Ramirez said sales of analog sets have not been cannibalized by the new system. Toshiba made significant market share advances in several big-screen categories. Most noteworthy was its number-one market share position (22%) in the 48″-62″ projection TV category. Ramirez said Toshiba expects industry projection set sales will show 1.3 million units in 1999 and predicts that will rise to 1.45 million by the end of the year.

In DVD, Toshiba said it would offer nine DVD models this year. Three progressive-scan models highlight Toshiba’s fifth-generation of DVD players and include two models with Toshiba’s new Super ColorStream Pro broadband component video outputs. The connection is said to offer circuitry that enhances picture quality of the progressive scan signals.

The top of the line SD9200 is billed as a “universal player.” It offers DVD progressive-scan output, Super ColorStream Pro, 10-bit 54MHz Video D/A conversion with 4:4:4 processing, and ColorStream interlaced component video output. It is also compatible with CD, HDCD, CD-R and video CD discs. The unit ships in August at a $1,999.99 suggested retail price.

Model SD6200 ($1,199.99 suggested retail) is dual-tray progressive-scan DVD player in Toshiba’s Cinema Series. It features Super ColorStream Pro, 10 bit/54MHz Video D/A conversion with 4:4:4 processing, Dolby Digital decoding and DTS compatibility, black-level expansion, and HDCD compatibility.

Model SD4205 is a five-disc DVD changer in the high-end Cinema Series. The unit will ship in June at a $549.99 suggested retail and includes Dolby Digital and DTS decoding, CD-R readable pickups and HDCD decoding.