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Korean Set-Top Box Company Targets U.S. Market

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — Macro Imaging Technology (MIT), based here, said it is ready to sell to U.S. distributors and retailers a line of digital television set-top decoder boxes, including one that will up-convert signals to a 1080 progressive scan output.

The company’s overseas marketing manager, Kay Harn, told TWICE that MIT, which appeared at Fall 2000 Comdex and at 2001 CES in the Zenith/LG Electronics booth as a strategic alliance partner, will supply a pair of DTV set-top tuners this year for use with television monitors.

The company, he said, “is still looking for a distributor and a dealer for OEMs and retail stores. We would like to have a contract with distributors to supply our products in the U.S. market if it is possible.”

He said MIT plans to market its set-top decoder products under the brand name ProHD and will market DTV PC card tuners under the MyHD trademark.

Harn said other brands will be used for OEM partners, and all trademarks have received Korean and U.S. approvals.

The first set-top box, which is available now, is the ProHD MDR-100 and the PC card is the MDP-100. Target retail prices for the two are $649.99 and $399.99, respectively. Both ship with remote controls.

These “products are available now and we will get into the U.S. market immediately if we have customers,” Harn assured.

Features of the MDR-100 ATSC terrestrial tuner set-top box include: HDTV and SDTV video decoding; 5.1-channel Dolby AC-3 audio decoding; HD component RGB or Y-Pb-Pr interface via RCA and 15-pin D-Sub connectors; SD output via composite and S-Video; 6 audio channel outputs for Dolby Digital; S/PDIF digital audio output (5.1-channel AC-3 or 2-channel PCM); electronic program guide/Program and System Information Protocol capable; automatic channel scan and PSIP update; parental guide and rating control; favorite channel selection and analog & digital closed captioning. It will output signals in the 1920 x 1080i, 1280 x 720p, 720 x 480p and 720 x 480i formats.

Available for market in June and “going to mass-production by October,” he said, is the ProHD MDR-500 DTV set-top decoder box, which among other things will up-convert signals to 1080 progressive format output for use with “flat-panel displays such as LCD and PDP TVs. It means it is for high-resolution progressive-scan monitors,” Harn explained.

The MDR-500, which was not priced, includes all the features of the MDR-100 plus the following: ATSC and analog NTSC TV tuning; DTV format processing up to 1080p with 3D de-interlacing algorithm of interlaced video sources; Picture-In-Picture, Picture-Out of-Picture, zoom in/out, double-window, pan-and-scan; video output in analog RGB/Y-Pb-Pr and digital DVI (TMDS); and a VGA connector that will handle up to 1280 x 1024p.

It will output signals in the following formats: 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p. Digital signals are sent out in progressive DVI (TMDS) in 480p-1080p formats. In addition to six analog audio outputs for Dolby Digital, the box includes both optical and coaxial outputs for undecoded Dolby Digital sound.

The MyHD MDP-100 PC card, meanwhile, will tune both digital ATSC and analog NTSC broadcasts and analog cable TV when installed in a Pentium II PC.

TV programs are displayed on PC monitors and/or a high quality DTV display monitors. MIT said the PC card will enable users to “enjoy the functional advantages of digital VCR” by storing digital signals to the hard drive like a personal video recorder.

MIT said the card has 5.1-channel Dolby AC-3 audio output in S/PDIF, and video is output to progressive scan monitors in VIP 2.0 Video Port format. It also provides a CVBS video input and stereo audio input port.

In October, MIT announced it would use NxtWave Communications’ NXT2000 8-VSB demodulator in the MDR-100 board and set-top boxes.

Harn said MIT is in the process of establishing a U.S. sales office, but interested parties can contact the company at [email protected].

“We will set up a subsidiary office in Los Angeles this year or next year,” he said. “One of our strategic alliance [partners] will share its space in LA [with us]. We are going to set up administration/sales, warehousing and demonstration offices” there.