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CES Television Trends Will Be Flatter, Wider

LAS VEGAS — Key video trends likely to emerge at the 2003 International CES will include more and larger flat panel televisions; lower-cost DVD recorders; a hint of expanded integrated HDTV set lines; and a spate of new CE video brands using Chinese factories.

At the same time, the battle of “micro-display”-based rear-projection HDTV monitors was expected to heat up with more Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) offerings ready to square off against the Digital Light Processing (DLP) products currently dominating that market segment.

One of the hottest CE segments this holiday shopping season was flat-panel television (both LCD and plasma screens) and that trend will be fueled by a number of new entrants with LCD TVs, featuring larger screens with enhanced contrast and brightness performance.

More and more, LCD-TV models will take on the popular widescreen aspect ratio and offer true HDTV display quality as production efficiencies make prices more affordable.

The same can be said of the plasma-display-panel category, where this year the new product focus will stress ergonomic styling as much as enhanced picture quality.

As LCD-TV screen sizes continue to grow and prices come down, a battle for flat-panel dominance appears to be looming with plasma displays.

With a Federal Communications Commission DTV tuner mandate hanging over their heads, several television manufacturers will begin to introduce fully integrated HDTV sets or expand existing lines. Still, much of the news on that front will wait for dealer line shows later in the year.

In all DTV product segments, the growing shift to 16:9 widescreen models will be more prevalent, as manufacturers zero in on a large consumer desire to enjoy the full benefits of widescreen DVD movies.

DVD recorders have generated considerable buzz during the last two years but relatively little sales. That news is expected to change this year, as new decks at more aggressive price points begin to emerge.

The recordable-disc battle will continue between the rival formats, but the possibility of prototypes demonstrating next generation blue, blue-green or red laser HD recording capabilities could give a glimpse of a format war for the next generation.

Following in the path of Apex, which seized significant market share in DVD players last year, behind its Chinese-made units marketed at aggressive prices, a number of new brands will appear either on the show floor on in hotel suites across the city.

This year, portable DVD players and TV/DVD combo products figure to be targets of the slashed-ticket approach to gaining a U.S. foothold.