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Pioneer To Ship HDTV-Ready Set In June

The first Pioneer-branded HDTV-ready rear-projection set will ship to dealers in June, the company reported.

Model SD-641HD5 will be the first HDTV-compatible set available to Pioneer-line dealers. The previous model (PRO-700HD) had sold under Pioneer’s Elite line and was available only to authorized Elite dealers.

The new set, which will carry a $6,999 suggested retail price, features the same 64W” 16:9 screen size as the currently shipping Pioneer Elite PRO-700HD model but omits the port for its “set-back box” (SH-D07) DTV decoder. Instead, the SD-641HD5, will connect with any DTV tuner/decoder through broadband component video (Y-Pb-Pr) analog connections or RGB H&V-sync connections.

However, Pioneer envisions the set being used with its Pioneer SH-D500 set-top DTV tuner/decoder, which carries a $2,500 suggested retail price and outputs DTV signals in the 480p or 1080i formats for display on the set.

The SD-641HD5 includes a built-in line-doubling video processor, called an Automatic Format Converter, which transcodes NTSC or 480-line interlaced video signals into the 480 progressive scan format. The process is said to virtually eliminate picture artifacts typically caused by the interlacing technique.

Other features of the set include dual NTSC analog tuners with picture-in-picture, split-screen displays, and three- or nine-picture multichannel display; auto-sensing component video input that accepts either progressive-scan or interlace input; adjustable 3D comb filter; nine-point digital CRT convergence adjustments; adjustable noise reduction; color noise reduction; auto flesh-tone adjustment (for non 480p sources); 0.52mm dot pitch resolution; and auto-screen mode that senses incoming signals and adjusts the screen mode accordingly.