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LCDs, Rewritable DVDs Dominate Comdex

Flat-panel monitors and optical drives of all flavors dominated the consumer product introductions at Comdex Fall/2001 last month.

Hewlett-Packard unveiled the first PC in its Pavilion line to sport a DVD+RW drive. The Pavilion 9995, suggested retail price $1,999 and shipping next week, features the idvd100i DVD+RW drive. This is the internal version of the same dvd100i external drive that HP started shipping in September.

The 9995 is powered by an Intel Pentium 4 2GHz processor, has 512MB of RAM, a 80GB hard drive and an NVIDIA GeForce2 MX400 graphics card.

Philips Consumer Electronics showed a variety of computer peripherals here this week, including the company’s long-awaited DVD+RW PC drive. The DVDR208 carries a $599 suggested retail price and is part of Philips effort to establish the DVD+RW specification as the industry standard.

Philips had several CD-RW and DVD-ROM/CD-RW drives on hand. The company announced it would boost the rewrite speed of its drives to 24x, from 20x, when it refreshes its line in December. This will be increased to 32x in 2002.

Philips also displayed its line of flat-panel home theater speakers, the three-piece MMS305 and five-piece MMS306. The former carries a $149 suggested retail price and the latter is $199. These are geared toward the gamer and audiophile consumer.

Imation showed a new line of 185MB, 80mm CD-R media that is expected to start shipping in January. The media is part of Imation’s overall effort in the small format CD market that it believes will grow at a healthy pace next year. The company also exhibited its RipGo combination portable CD-R/player that is now shipping. In the full-size 700MB CD-R media area Imation unveiled a new 32x version that will be available in a variety of neon colors. The company also launched DVD+RW media at the show.

Samsung’s Digital Information Technology division previewed several new flat- panel and CRT monitors at Comdex. On the CRT side is the 21-inch 1100DF. This monitor features .20mm dot pitch and is expected to start shipping in the first quarter of 2002. In addition, were the 17-inch 753DFH and 19-inch 957DFH. These incorporate a new high brightness technology and are expected out early in the second quarter next year. Pricing has not been set, said Rey Roque, Samsung DIT’s vice president of marketing.

On the LCD side Samsung had the new 15-inch 151S and 17-inch 171S. These are available with suggested retail prices of $419 and $749, respectively.

CTX International debuted its 36-inch pure flat multimedia monitor. The MS3600VF is HDTV/DTV ready, 16×9 aspect ratio and has a $2,999 retail.

In addition to the concept products shown by Sony chief operating officer Kunitake Ando during his keynote address (see story, page 1), the company showed several products that are either shipping now or in the near future. These include three new Net MD MiniDisc players. The Net MD MZ-N505, with 32x speed, will ship in March with a $200 suggested retail price. The MZ-N707 adds editing controls to the N505’s basic feature set. The N707 will ship in March with a $250 suggested retail price. The MZ-N1 ships in March with a $350 suggested retail price. It has better battery life, more editing capability and a jog dial navigation system.

TEAC today introduced and started shipping a new internal CD-RW drive. The drive has 24x write, 10x rewrite and 4x read speeds and can burn a 650MB audio CD in about three minutes. It is bundled with Roxio’s Easy CD Creator 5.1.

The Secured Digital Card Association held product compatibility demonstrations during Comdex and reported a 512MB card is under development. Ray Creech, president of the SD Card Association, said a 128MB card is expected out next year and will be followed by a 256MB, and in 2003 the 512MB will be shipping. The association unveiled a new marketing campaign to expose consumers to the SD card.