Toshiba held their annual line show this year in sunny New Mexico at the luxurious Hyatt Tamayo in the exclusive Rio Rancho section of Albuquerque on May 19th. As always, Toshiba put on a terrific show with the theme this year being advanced technology. Since the location for the line show was New Mexico, Area 51 was invoked as the ideal location for keeping advanced technology secrets. Toshiba married the advanced technology concept with their integrated marketing message that ?Image is Everything.? And, for Toshiba, it certainly is!
Toshiba will be rolling out a full lineup of 11 new DLP rear projection TVs in both their TheaterWide Series and Cinema Series lines. Toshiba will offer both 720p and 1080p resolution models. The 720p sets will utilize a new TALEN Light Engine. The 1080p sets will use Toshiba?s new TALEN X light engine with Xtreme BLAC (Black Level Aperture Control), which incorporates advanced design and technology to further enhance the home theater experience. Both light engines are enhanced with DEEP Picture (Digitally Enhanced Engine Performance) technology, which reportedly creates sharper and more vibrant images. A key video enhancement feature is Toshiba?s proprietary PixelPure AT (Adaptive Technology) digital video processing, which includes motion adaptive de-interlacing, adaptive MPEG processing, adaptive contrast enhancement, and adaptive color enhancement. All of these fully integrated HDTV models are Digital Cable Ready with ATSC/QAM digital tuning and a CableCARD slot. All models include the new Radiance 150 Hi-Bright Lamp, TV Guide on-screen, IEEE1394 connectivity, and dual HDMI digital video inputs.
According to Scott Ramirez, VP of Marketing, ?Toshiba was first to market 1080p Micro-Display Projection TV [referring to their earlier LCoS products], and we?re back with new TALEN X [light engine]?by combining the Texas Instruments xHD4 1080p chip with advanced optics, a high brightness lamp, DEEP Picture technology, and Xtreme BLAC, our xHD4 1080p models will introduce a new level of clarity and contract into the Micro-Display category.?
Toshiba?s TheaterWide line of high-definition DLP projection television will include seven screen sizes, ranging from 46-in. to 72-in. The TheaterWide line will include three 720p models: a 46-in. (46HM95 @ $2,499.99), a 52-in. (52HM95 @ $2,799), and a 62-in. (62HM95 @ $3299.99); and three 1080p models: a 56-in. (56HM195 @ $3,499.99), a 62-in. (62HM195 @ $3,799.99), and a 72-in. (72HM195 @ $4,999.99). All TheaterWide models will be available between July and September.
Toshiba?s Cinema Series line of high-definition DLP projection televisions will also include 720p and 1080p models. With screen sizes ranging from 52-in. to 72-in., the Cinema Series will offer two 720p models: a 52-in. (52HMX95 @ $3,099.99), and a 62-in. (62HMX95 @ $ 3,599.99); and three 1080p models: a 56-in. (56MX195 @ $3,799.99), a 62-in. (62MX195 @ $4,099.99), and a 72-in. (72MX195 @ $5,299.99). All Cinema Series models will be available between July and October.
Toshiba is expanding its 2005 flat-panel offerings to 19 models including Plasma TVs, LCD TVs, and LCDVD products. Select flat-panel models will also include Toshiba?s new proprietary SoundStrip speaker system which, because of its space-saving and esthetically pleasing design, eliminates the extra space needed for traditional side- or bottom-mounted speakers. Flat-panel TVs range in size from 14-in. to 50-in. Most of the widescreen HD models will also include PixelPure AT digital video processing along with HDMI digital video inputs. All integrated HDTV flat-panels will be Digital Cable Ready with CableCARD, and offer TV Guide on-screen.
There will be a total of five Plasma TV models with three in the TheaterWide line: a 480p 42-in. monitor (42DPC85 @ $1,999.99), a 42-in. integrated HDTV (42HP95 @ $3,499.99), and a 50-in. HDTV (50HP95 @ $4,999.99). There will be two models in the Cinema Series: a 42-in. integrated HDTV (42HPX95 @ $3,999.99) and a 50-in. HDTV (50HPX95 @ $5,499.99). All new Plasma TV models include SoundStrip speakers.
Direct-view LCD TVs
There will be a total of 14 LCD TV models in screen sizes, ranging from 14-in. 37-in. Highlights include three integrated HDTV models in the TheaterWide line: a 27-in. (27HL95 @ $1,499.99), a 32-in. (32HL95 @ $2,499.99), and a 37-in. (37HL95 @ $3,499.99). The Cinema Series of integrated LCD HDTVs also includes a side-mounted progressive scan DVD player that internally upconverts all DVDs to 720p. There will be a 32-in. (32HLX95 @ $2,999.99), and a 37-in. (37HLX95 @ $3,999.99). A third integrated LCD HDTV with DVD player (LCDVD) is found in the TheaterWide line: a 27-in. model (27HLV95 @ $1,999.99). Also within the TheaterWide line, there will be three additional LCDVD HD capable models: a 17-in. model (17HLV85 @ $799.99), a 20in. model (20HLV85 @ $999.99), and a 23-in (23HLV85 @ $1,399.99). All LCD models will ship by September. Cinema Series LCD TVs add a high-glass black bezel and SoundStrip speakers over standard silver cabinetry found on the TheaterWide models.
Toshiba 27, 32, and 37HL95 models
Toshiba will continue to offer ten direct-view CRT television in screen sizes, ranging from 14-in. through 34-in. configuration widths. TheaterWide (8 models) prices start at $139.99 for their 14-in. (14AF95) to $1,199.99 (34HF85), and are currently available. There will also be two Cinema Series models: a 30-in (30HFX85 @ $999.99), and a 34-in. (34HX85 @ $ 1,299.99) that will be available in September.
CRT-Based Rear Projection
While many rear projection CRT televisions will carry over from last year, Toshiba has introduced a new Custom Series CRT-based rear projection TV. What makes the Custom Series unique is that both models are tuner-less. While each has all of the internal circuitry to project and display 1080i HDTV signals, the sets do not include NTSC (for analog TV) signals or ATSC (for digital HD) signals. Each set needs either a cable HD box or a satellite HD set-top box to complete the package. The Custom Series features two models: a 51-in. (51HC85 @ $1,399.99) and a 57-in. (57HC85 @ $1,599.99). Both sets will be available in July.
While Toshiba offers an extensive line of DVD players and recorders plus a plethora of combination TV/DVD, TV/VCR, and Tri-Play (TV/DVD/VCR) models, the big news in video was HD DVD. Their first player will be available in November and priced under $1,000. It will feature HD DVD, DVD, and CD playback in either true 720p or 1080i resolution. The model will include HDMI and IEEE1394 output along with Internet connectivity and front USB ports. The HD DVD player will also feature Dolby Digital and DTS HD 5.1 decoding capability. At launch, there will be approximately 89 titles available from Warner Home Video including HBO Films & NewLine (53), Paramount (20), and Universal (15). There will be mix of new releases (such as Batman Begins and The Phantom of the Opera) and catalog titles (such as M.I.2 and The Sopranos). There will also be two types of discs available at launch: a standard HD DVD and a Hybrid Disc. The Hybrid Disc will have an HD DVD version of a movie on one side of the disc, and a standard definition (480p) version of the film on the other side. Catalog titles may come out in HD DVD-only versions, as there is already a standard definition version available. New releases, on the other hand, might only be released on a Hybrid Disc, as anyone with a DVD player could playback the movie.
Toshiba HD-DVD Player
Toshiba is finally shipping its first Gigabeat family of mobile audio player products, which were announced earlier this year under the banner of ?Music in Color.? With a large 2.2-in.QVGA color LCD screen and a resolution of 320×240, the Gigabeat emphasizes a visual as well as an aural experience. It?s not just another MP3 player that can store and play music. You can also store and playback your favorite images. While the Gigabeat can download and play MP3, WMA, or WAV files, it can also transfer your CD collection to the Gigabeat quickly and easily via its CD Rip Rec feature. Toshiba has partnered with Microsoft and Napster to provide ?Windows PlayForSure? and ?Napster To Go? compatibility. In addition to its room management software, the Gigabeat will be able to download music via Windows Media Player 10 and Windows-based subscription services.
Several models will be available in the Gigabeat family: MEG-F10 (10GB in silver, blue, and black acrylic @ $279), MEG-F20 (20MB in silver and black brushed aluminum @ $329), MEG-F40 (40 MB in brushed aluminum champagne finish @ $399 with in-line remote), and MEG-F60 (60GB in ?steel? brushed aluminum with the in-line remote. All Gigabeat models feature a 16-hour rechargeable battery that can be charged from the supplied docking cradle.
Unlike Toshiba, Hitachi is focused only on display products. While it markets a few DVD players and DVD camcorders, its main thrust in television products is Micro-Display, Flat-panel and CRT permeations. Hitachi spent several May days in New York, speaking with the press about its new display products. In some ways, many of the new models are a continuation of product offerings begun in 2004, and other displays break entirely new ground for this innovative company.
The big news coming out of Hitachi this year is its launching of three new UltraVision LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) projection HDTV models, and seven new UltraVision 3LCD projection HDTV models. Hitachi is offering an innovative three-panel LCoS light engine that features the company?s proprietary Dual Focus Lens system, and a native resolution of 1920×1080 for exceptional high-definition images. According to Hitachi, their LCoS design utilizes an extremely thin liquid crystal layer that reduces the response time light-to-dark and dark-to-light transitions for sharper on-screen action. The company uses an exclusive 25-Element Dual Focus Lens System, which is engineered to render the three-panel 1920×1080 LCoS light engine output with exceptional precision and clarity from edge to edge and corner to corner. Also according to Hitachi, their LCoS imaging devices? proprietary design produces a 92-percent aperture.
?Hitachi?s engineering expertise takes the home theater experience one step further by introducing technology that makes come alive with smooth film-like quality,? said Leo Delaney, VP Marketing. Hitachi will be offering three LCoS models, available in November. The first display will be the UltraVision CineForm LCoS projection HDTV T925 Series, which includes precision tuning of the polarizers and filters inside the Dual Focus light engine. The 60-in. model 60T925 ($5,299) comes in Hitachi?s unique CineForm industrial design, and includes DV and IEEE1394 interfaces with full AV control to make recording to HD hard-disc drives quick and easy. Hitachi will also offer two models in the UltraVision CineForm Director?s X927 Series: 60-in. (60X927 @ $6,499 in November) and a 70-in. (70X927 @ $8,499 in December). The Director?s X927 Series includes all of the features of the T925 Series, plus custom color temperature with four settings, an adjustable color decoder, the enhanced Digital Color Management III (for true color renderings), and Film Quality Image Tuning that provides increased detail in shadows and highlights. Both models also feature a diffusion screen with anti-reflective coatings that absorb ambient light, high-gloss black cabinetry.
Hitachi?s 2005 line of 3LCD HDTVs will include seven models, all with resolutions of 720p. The entry-level 50-in. model (50V720 @ $2,799) features Hitachi?s High Contrast Lens Systems and the company?s proprietary VirtualHD 1080p II video processing technology. It is Digital Cable Ready with CableCARD. The UltraVision line is comprised of three models: a 50-in. (50VF820 @ $3,099), a 55-in. (55VF820 @ $3,399), and a 60-in (60VF820 @ $3,999). The UltraVision line adds an anti-reflective diffusion screen, multiple color temperature settings, 4-step black enhancement, and a 40-watt 3-way speaker system. All of these models will be available in August and September.
Within the UltraVision CineForm 3LCD line, there are also three models: a 50-in. (50VG825 @ $3,199), a 55-in. (55VG825 @ $3,499), and a 60-in. (60VG825 @ $4,099). The UltraVision CineForm models add TV Guide on-screen electronic program guide, learning AV NET IV (which can simply be the operation of your home theater), and a USB input. All models will be available in September.
Hitachi is launching seven product lines of new flat-panel models for 2005 in screen sizes ranging from 26-in. to 55-in. models. Hitachi?s fully-integrated HDTV Plasma TVs encompass 11 models, featuring an ?all-in-one? design. All UltraVision models are Digital Cable Ready with a CableCARD slot; they will provide the company?s proprietary VirtualHD 1080p II video processing technology that incorporates new histogram processing algorithms for enhanced contrast, sharpness, gamma and color for a reportedly clearer, sharper picture.
Entry-level Plasma TV models with bottom-mounted speakers include the 42EDF42 ($2,699), which offers a screen resolution of 853×480 or 480p. Model 42HDF42 ($3,799) includes an ALiS panel, which offers a screen resolution of 1024×1024. Both models include integrated ATSC and NTSC tuners so that both standard and high-definition broadcasts can be received, and VirtualHD digital video processing with progressive scan and 3:2 pull-down.
The UltraVision HDS52 Plasma HDTV Series includes two models: a 42-in. (42HDS52 @ $4,299 in June), and a 55-in. (55HDS52 @ $5,799 in October). Both models include all UltraVision features plus anti-reflective screen coatings, multiple color temperature settings, and 40step black enhancement. Connectivity interfaces include 2 HDMI, 2 component video, and 1 USB port.
Within the UltraVision CineForm HDT52 Plasma HDTV Series, there are two models: a 42-in. (42HDT52 @ $4,399 in August), and a 55-in. (55HDT52 @ $5,899). Adding to all UltraVision features, the HDT52 Series also includes TV Guide on-screen EPG, and an adjustable color decoder. Connectivity interfaces add DV and IEEE1394 inputs with full AV control to make recording to stand-alone HD DVRs convenient and easy.
The UltraVision CineForm Director?s Series HDX62 Plasma HDTVs also includes two models: a 42-in. (42HDX62 @ $5,499 in August), and a 55-in. (55HDX62 @ $6,999 in October). Both sets include all of the features of the UltraVision CineForm HDTV Series plus a very sleek high-end industrial design cabinetry in a high-gloss black finish. Additional features include Digital Color Management III, Film Quality Image Tuning that provides increased detail in shadows and highlights, and the AV NET IV learning remote.
Direct-View LCD HDTVs
Turning to direct-view LCD HDTVs with integrated high-definition tuners, Hitachi will be offering four models in screen sizes ranging from 26-in. to 37-in. The HDL52 LCD Flat Panel Series features panels with screen resolutions of 1366×768, and Hitachi?s exclusive Super In-Plane Switching (S-IPS) technology that reportedly delivers superior viewing angles, faster response times, and improved color purity. The HDL52 Series, which also includes VirtualHD digital video processing, is comprised of three models: a 26-in. (26HDL52 @ $1,999 in August), a 32-in. (32HDL52 @ $2,699 in September), and a 37-in. (37HDL52 @ $ 3,499 in October). The 32-in. and 37-in models features a motorized swivel stand. All models include bottom-mounted speakers with a 20-watt audio system.
The UltraVision CineForm Director?s Series HLX61 Flat Panel HDTV Series is comprised of one 32-in. model. The 32HLX61 ($3,799), which is currently available, features the elegant CineForm design with a remote control power swivel base. It also features a VirtualHD 1080p video processor that uses reverse 3:2 pull-down, and Hitachi?s proprietary Motion Overdrive Circuit technology that anticipates motion in the video signal to produce sharper and more detailed images. Connectivity interfaces include dual HDMI and dual IEEE1394 inputs.
CRT-Based Rear Projection HDTVs
Hitachi will be adding five new rear projection CRT-based HDTVs in 2005. According to Hitachi, they will be the thinnest CRT projection TVs on the market this year. All models will include Hitachi?s proprietary VirtualHD video processor.
The F710A HDTV Series will be available in three screen sizes: a 51-in. (51F710A @ $1,999), a 57-in. (57F710A @ $2,399), and a 65-in. (65F710A @ $2,999). All models will feature Super Contrast CRTs and a High-Contrast Lens System that magnifies the image with advanced optics for increased brightness and contrast. All models will include ATSC and NTSC tuners and are Digital Cable Ready with CableCARD. The sets also include Hitachi?s Magic Focus auto convergence (with 9-point manual convergence and 117-point fine tuning convergence) that aligns the picture with a push of a button on the set or remote.
The UltraVision S825 HFTV Series is comprised of two models: a 51-in. (51S825 @ $2,099), and a 57-in. (57S825 @ $2,299). Both models include the UltraVision silvery industrial design, and include all of the features of F710A Series plus a Super Contrast 5-Element Lens System, which reportedly provides 72-percent better focus at picture edges over traditional lens designs and 54-percent more contrast. Additionally, both models feature Hitachi?s exclusive Super Contrast II CRTs technology to provide higher contrast with more accurate imagery.
Reportedly, Hitachi is also considering a line of tuner-less CRT-based rear projection HD capable sets, which could be introduced later this year, designed to reach lower price points.