Sony Delays DTV Lineup

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NEW YORK -- Sony will not ship its previously announced line of next-generation fully integrated digital TV sets this year, due to problems with chipset integration and a still incomplete standard for digital copy-protection encryption, Vic Pacor, Sony Home Network Products president announced.

Engineers ran into problems integrating software for new tuner chipsets into six previously announced digital TVs, he said, and at the same time faced a still-unresolved standard for digital content copy protection.

Pacor called the chipset snafu an almost "serendipitous" event because Sony faced the difficult task of deploying digital TV sets with IEEE 1394 digital interconnects with the Digital Transmission Content Protection (DTCP or 5C) system before all parties had signed off on a copy-protection standard.

In the interim, he said, Sony is considering producing some widescreen 16:9 high-scan sets that do not include an ATSC digital tuner/receiver, but specifics on those plans will be announced later.

Sony still sells two fully integrated Hi-Scan DTV sets from a earlier product line, and offers some tunerless Hi-Scan.

Pacor said the delay also comes when the ATSC modulation system is under attack, adding that "the precedent of revisiting an established standard is terrible."

Sony will sell an ATSC/DirecTV-capable set-top tuner/decoder (SAT-HD100) later in the year at a $699 suggested retail price.

He said the six delayed models now may ship sometime next year, with possible expanded capabilities. Pacor acknowledged that Sony was prepared to deliver the new models with the DTCP format included to encourage fence-sitters in both the consumer electronics and Hollywood communities to move ahead.


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