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Digital Television To Take CEDIA Spotlight

Digital television will take center stage among new high-performance home theater video products slated for demonstration at this year’s CEDIA Show in Indianapolis.

In addition to a number of new HDTV- and SD-ready monitors and sets, manufacturers will be showcasing for the audience of custom home theater installers high-performance DVD players, touchscreen system remotes, DTV satellite solutions, and video processors. The following is a glance at what some of the video exhibitors are planning for the show:

Denon: Along with a range of new audio components, the company will show its latest DVD player. Model DVM-3700 is a five-disc carousel changer ($999 suggested retail price) with HDCD decoding, 24-bit ALPHA DSP processing, and dual Burr-Brown 96kHz/24-bit audio DACs. The system is both Dolby Digital and DTS capable for both DVD and DTS CD software.

Faroudja: One of the pioneers of line-doubled analog video, the company will unveil the latest variations on the video-processing technology with two new models, the DVP-3000 and DVP-2200. The processors are said to be especially suited for non-CRT displays such those using DLP, LCD and plasma systems. Also scheduled for display are a new data-grade front projector made by In Focus for distribution through Faroudja’s home theater customer base.

Fujitsu: Although it is still formulating a game plan for general retail distribution, Fujitsu General is scheduled to bring several new Class B products to CEDIA as it develops a business plan for home theater dealers and distributors. Highlighting the list will be a new HDTV-capable plasma display panel that will be offered in Class A (emission rating for commercial applications) and Class B (emission rating for consumer applications) configurations.

Hitachi: Having just started shipping its first fully integrated HDTV (61HDX98B), the company plans to underscore its Ultravision Digital television direction at the show. Hitachi is set to display the new HDTV set in CEDIA’s lifestyle home theater booth and will offer in its own booth two HDTV-ready television monitors in the 36″ (36SDX88B) and 60″ (60SDX88B) 4:3 screen sizes.

Marantz: Philips’ high-end brand will unveil two rear-projection TVs in the 60″ and 55″ screen sizes. The 60″ model (PV-6071) includes TV GuidePlus, component video inputs, and a hybrid lens system with 7″ CRTs. The 55″ unit, model PV-5571, adds an internal high-performance audio system.

Meridian: The high-end audio supplier will unveil its 800 Reference CD/DVD player, which the company said is built like a computer. The player uses a DVD-ROM drive to play DVD software and offers a second slot to accommodate a second drive if desired. Users can download new software versions from the Meridian web site via a RS232 port connection.

Mitsubishi: Noted as one of the first manufacturers to offer HDTV solutions last year, Mitsubishi will celebrate at CEDIA the transition to its second-generation digital TV product line. This year the company is offering a set-top DTV decoder that will receive off-air ATSC broadcasts plus DirecTv standard, high definition and local-to-local satellite programming services.

NAD: The home theater audio equipment supplier will show its first DVD player (model T550), which has built-in Dolby Digital and Pro Logic decoding, DTS compatibility, 96kHz/24-bit audio DACs, coaxial and optical digital outputs, and a 10-bit video DAC.

Onkyo: The home audio company will unveil a six-disc carousel DVD changer featuring the exclusive “next selection” feature, enhanced black-level setting, gold-plated component-video output terminals, DTS compatibility, 96kHz/24-bit audio DACs, high-resolution onscreen display, Dolby Digital output, optical digital output, and a full-function remote control. Model CD-C600 will ship in October at a $579.95 suggested retail price.

Panasonic: The company is ex-pected to draw considerable attention after recently making bold announcements to deliver the first progressive-scan DVD player (DVD-H1000), HD-capable D-VHS VCR (PV-HD1000) and DVD-audio players.

In addition to those products, Panasonic will display its 720p-capable rear-projection HDTV-ready display (PT-56WFX95), its flat-screen Tau HDTV-ready direct-view set (CT-34WDM60), its latest 42″ plasma display (PT-42PD1) and a second-generation digital TV set-top decoder (TU-DST51).

Philips: The company will emphasize a host of home theater video products, including the introduction of a 34W” fully integrated direct-view HDTV, a second-generation flat-panel plasma TV, the new Philips TiVo personal video recorder, new DVD players, and a software-upgradable Pronto universal touchscreen remote.

Pioneer: This year Pioneer plans one of the busiest booths at the show. Slated for introduction in Indianapolis are: two new HDTV-ready Elite projection sets; a new brighter high-definition-capable 50W” plasma display panel; a three-disc DVD changer; and the previously announced portable LCD DVD player (PDV-L10). Additionally, Pioneer will demonstrate its hybrid progressive-scan DVD player with DVD-Audio capability and a DVD-R/W video recorder offering 4.7 GB per side disc capacity.

Princeton: The pioneer of direct-view HDTV sets, including the first 720p-capable model, will demonstrate two new HDTV monitors: the AF3.4HDF, which has a 34W” 16:9 screen with flat-faced Microfilter picture tube; and the AS3.6HD, which is billed as a 36″ 4:3 HDTV-ready monitor. Both will display 480p, 1080i and 720p signals in their native format and will ship in the fourth quarter at prices to be announced later.

Runco: Two improved-performance video processors will be introduced by Runco, along with a DLP-based video projector (VX1) that is capable of both the 720p and 1080i high-definition TV display formats. In the processors, model VFC-4403 ($14,995 suggested) offers three line-multiplying scan modes 2x (31.5kHz), 2.5x (39kHz) and 3x 48kHz). The VFC-4404 ($19,995 suggested) adds 4x mode (63kHz).

Samsung: The company makes its appearance at the custom home theater show, in part, to shed light on its aggressive HDTV plans. Samsung is demonstrating a wave of second-generation DTV products including: its first set-top decoder; an SDTV-ready 40W” LCD rear-projection set; and a fully integrated HDTV set with 9″ CRT guns and broadband component video inputs for use with DTV-ready cable boxes.

Seleco: A specialist in value-priced high-performance front projectors, Seleco will highlight two new models: the SVD-500-Plus, which is billed as 1080i-capable and priced at $9,995 suggested retail; and the SVD-800HD, which will display all the proposed ATSC formats in native scan.

The SVD-800HD, which is now available at a $14,995 suggested retail price, includes a built-in video processor called iScan, which was produced for Seleco by DVDO.

Sharp: Once again, Sharp has aggressive product announcements planned for CEDIA, including the introduction of its first plasma display panel, a 50W” model that is capable of HDTV resolution. Other new products on tap from Sharp include a 20″ 4:3 LCD monitor for video applications and a 10″ LCD television set with built-in tuner, which is slated for market next year.

Sensory Science: The distributor of the Go-Video and California Audio Labs brands will use CEDIA to show a Sensory Science digital controller, a new video switcher, and the California Audio Labs CL-20 and CL-25 DVD players.

Sony: While Sony plans to introduce a number of products, including DVD players, home theater receivers and LCD projectors, details were withheld until the show.

Thomson: Thomson will return to the show with a number of high-performance ProScan and RCA products, including the industry’s first DTV-set-top box capable of receiving off-air ATSC and NTSC signals as well as DirecTv standard and HD services.

Toshiba: The first company to announce plans for a progressive-scan DVD player, Toshiba is expected to again demonstrate the technology, although revised delivery plans still had not been revealed at press time. Toshiba also has a wide range of second-generation digital-TV displays in both integrated and decoder-less configurations.

Vidikron: Revitalized by the funds of a new investor, the supplier of high-performance video displays will again appear at CEDIA with a full product line of HDTV-capable projectors. New in the line this year is the Kronos One, which is billed as a 7″ CRT-based front projector, featuring the distinctive Pininferina styling that has defined previous models. The Kronos One is a multi-synch display device capable of 1080i and 720p scan rates in addition to enhanced analog NTSC signals and VGA computer images. The projector ships this month at a $10,995 suggested retail price.

Zenith: Now that its first integrated HDTV set (the IQA64W10, $9,999 suggest retail) has hit the market, Zenith is readying its second model (IQB56W10, $8,495) for delivery next month.

Both models are expected at CEDIA along with the show highlight — a new high-performance front projector, featuring 8″ optics and an auto-convergence system.