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Panasonic Unveils 2nd-Gen DLP

Panasonic used CEDIA to unveil its second-generation HD-level DLP rear-projection monitor, and an ultra high-end 3-chip DLP front projector.

The PT-52DL52 52W-inch rear-projection DLP monitor carries a $5,999 suggested retail price, down significantly from the $12,999 price originally asked for the first-generation model. The unit, which ships this month, uses Texas Instruments’ new wide-screen “Mustang/ HD-2” chip and offers native 1,280 by 720 resolution. The rear-projection monitor also adds a DVI interface.

Contrast has been improved in the monitor with a 1,000:1 ratio, and brightness is listed at 800 candelas per meter squared, which is brighter than the company’s plasma display panels.

Due to a lower price point and improved performance, Panasonic is expanding its distribution on the new model, said Cathy Lasorsa, Panasonic DPTV/flat-panel TV national marketing manager. She said a number of high-volume electronics chains picked up the first-generation model last summer and were surprised at the high level of business it had generated.

Panasonic also showed a new high-end SXGA DLP projector (model PT-D7600) that incorporates three DLP chips. The unit weighs less than 44 pounds. The fluid-cooled unit includes a BriteOptic dual-lamp system for 5,000 ANSI lumens of brightness and is stackable for double the brightness level. The unit has a $30,000 suggested retail price and is slated to ship in early 2003.

In plasma displays, the company underscored the price reductions that went into effect in September. The ED-level PT-42PD3P was cut from $5,999 to $4,999; the HD-level PT-42PHD4P declined from $7,999 to $6,999, and the company is now shipping the 50W-inch HD-level PT-50PHD4P as a replacement for the previous model at $10,999.

At the end of October, the company is planning to begin shipping its 37W-inch ED-level PT-37PD4P at $4,499.

Major retailers who have picked up the Panasonic plasma line include Circuit City and Sears.

In other news, the company said it started shipping its DMR-HS2 combination DVD recorder/personal video recorder to U.S. retailers at a $999.95 suggested retail price.

The recorder will record on both the DVD-R write-once and DVD-RAM rewritable media formats. It also incorporates a 40GB hard drive capable of caching up to 52 hours of video programs at a time in EP mode.

Features include Time Slip rewinding of live video, chasing playback and recording digital video via a DV input. A PC card slot is offered with use with various formats of flash memory cards.