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Mini-Projectors, HDTV In Focus

INDIANAPOLIS — Mini LCD- and DLP-based video projectors, progressive-scan DVD players that also play DVD-Audio or Super Audio CDs, and various flavors of HDTV monitors represented the top video trends appearing at the recent CEDIA Expo 2000.

Although broadcasters continue to dillydally with their HDTV programming, CE manufacturers proceeded to introduce precision display monitors that will present the high-frequency scan lines of the 1080i and 720p HDTV formats.

Thanks to an underwriting sponsorship by Mitsubishi, CBS’ coverage of the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament was broadcast in HDTV and presented in booths throughout the show floor. Although some digital breakup was occasionally present in the pictures, the 8-VSB system stood the test reasonably well at the event.

However, there were very few new digital tuners or integrated-tuner products at the show. Among the exceptions: Sensory Science, which showed its Loewe set-top DTV decoder box that will be coming in the fourth quarter at a $1,600 suggested retail. The decoder will output 480i, 480p, 720p and 1080i formats.

Also, JVC revealed plans to market the EchoStar TU-6000RU receiver in September at a $499.95 advertised price. Add-in ATSC tuner modules will be available in October.

Sony, however, said its DTV decoder with built-in DirecTV receiver has been pushed back to “a January-ish” launch window.

As for new HDTV, EDTV and SDTV monitors, mini fixed-pixel displays were the hottest trend.

Seleco unveiled a subcompact one-chip DLP projector that weighs less than 5 pounds. Sharp showed a 5-pound EDTV-quality LCD projector it will sell in early 2001. And Allendale, N.J.-based Plus Corp. demonstrated its three-model U3-series of mini one-chip DLP video projectors with 800:1 contrast, up to 1,300 ANSI lumens of brightness and XGA resolution.

Sony, which announced plans to shelve its line of integrated HDTV sets until next year, unveiled its first two widescreen rear-projection HDTV monitors under the flagship XBR line and offered its first ES-series progressive-scan DVD player with Super Audio CD playback capability (see p. 26).

Sharp unveiled new CRT-based widescreen rear-projection HDTV monitors, which it is building at Sharp factories for the first time, ending its prior collaboration with Pioneer.

Hitachi, Mitsubishi and Panasonic displayed their previously announced DLP-based rear-projection HDTV monitors, which are slated for fall deliveries, while Runco announced plans to have its first rear-projection DLP unit next year.

JVC, meanwhile, said its D’Ahlia D-ILA-based rear-projection HDTV monitor has been delayed due to heavier than anticipated demand for the project in Japan, where it is currently being sold. However, the company did unveil its first model in a forthcoming series of flat-screen direct-view televisions. The line is called I-Art and will offer NTSC models at first, but plans are to eventually include an 34W-inch widescreen monitor that will display the 1080i HDTV format.

The first model in the I-Art “Pure Flat” series is the 27-inch AV-27F802, slated to ship in October at an $899.95 advertised price.

The company also unveiled its first progressive-scan DVD player with DVD-Audio playback capability. Model XV-D723GD is now shipping at an $899.95 suggested retail price.

Sensory Science’s Loewe TV line was expanded with a line of HDTV-capable monitors, including four 16:9 Aconda monitors, two 30W-inch models ($3,600 suggested retail for each, due in the fourth quarter) and two 38W-inch models (due in early 2001).

Also to ship in the fourth quarter is the Claida 32-inch 4:3 monitor, which will display the 1080i HDTV scan format.