Sony Launches 3rd Generation Wega Engine System in its First Digital Cable Ready Plasma HDTV Line-up

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Innovative Floating Glass Design XS Series Plasma WEGA Models Feature Integrated ATSC Tuner and a Powerful 100-Watt System with Built-in Subwoofer

Sony unveiled today a line of Digital Cable Ready™ (DCR), Plasma WEGA™ HDTV sets, expanding its line of DCR HDTVs. Continuing the fine tuning of the proprietary WEGA Engine™ processing system, the latest models, available in 37-, 42-, and 50-inch screen sizes, feature the 3rd generation fully digital WEGA Engine system and add a powerful 100-Watt 2.1 built-in audio system for an incredible listening and viewing experience.

“Our new XS series is far more than just another cool, flat panel line of TVs,” said Greg Gudorf, vice president of marketing for Sony Electronics’ Television Group. “As the market leader, Sony is always one step ahead in creating versatile and technically advanced sets for discriminating home entertainment enthusiasts. With the newly redesigned XS series, we have enhanced the sights and sounds for the users to match the breathtaking beauty of this product.”
The new WEGA Engine system maximizes picture performance from virtually any video source. Whether viewing DVD, digital cable/satellite, standard or high definition programming, the advanced system maintains the integrity and displays realistic, outstanding picture quality. The latest enhancements significantly improve the set’s performance, greatly reducing signal deterioration, and expressing finer, detailed picture images, deeper and natural contrast and unsurpassed color reproduction. It also smoothly transfers the HD signal by utilizing a proprietary algorithm.

Sony has engineered an advanced chip set to compliment the WEGA Engine system including:

DRC-MultiFunctionV2- Digital Reality Creation® MultiFunction circuitry enables the digital mapping of any NTSC source (DVD, VHS, DBS, Cable, etc.), to create a picture that is precise and finer in detail, rivaling high definition resolution. Incoming HD signals digitally bit mapped, utilizing Sony’s proprietary algorithm to provide a crisp and clear picture;

New Panel Driver LSI- This drive provides a more realistic color expression by improving the color space of the original signal and color gradation; and

IFP (Image Format Processor) – The Digital Texture Enhancer function of this chip provides the optimal contrast by utilizing a wide dynamic range. This chip also reduces signal noise, by using an improved motion vector algorithm, while maintaining image sharpness.

In addition to the multiple video enhancements, this year’s XS plasma line will feature improved proprietary audio capabilities, including the S-Master® digital amplifier LSI, along with a detachable 50-watt subwoofer that can be inconspicuously mounted to a wall bracket or a table-top stand, as well as two 25-watt left and right front speakers to create a complete 2.1 channel system.

The S-Master digital amplifier processes clear dialog and reproduces the original sound quality while minimizing any sound fragmentation or jitter noise. The new XS model can also be used as a center channel that acts as a true speaker complimenting a 5.1 home theater system, creating a movie-theater like experience with minimum shelf space. This superb audio system combined with unique video enhancements packs a high resolution, high performance home theater experience into one, single unit.

These three new plasma sets extend Sony’s lineup of Digital Cable Ready HDTVs, which allows digital cable subscribers to conveniently access digital cable services using a CableCARD™ designed to the CableLabs® interface specifications. The CableCARD is a removable security module which, when inserted in a DCR TV, enables the delivery of secure, digital audio/video content.

It allows consumers to receive premium digital cable programming, including HDTV content, from participating local cable operators, without the need of a cable box (interactive services such as VOD require the use of a set-top box). Where supported, cable operators will offer CableCARDs for consumers to take part in the simplicity and convenience DCR sets have to offer. This interface makes the new sets compatible with virtually all digital cable TV systems across the country.

In addition, the sets’ integrated ATSC/QAM/NTSC tuner supports DCR by allowing access to over-the-air digital high definition broadcasts, as well as digital cable programming. The newly-engineered WEGA Engine 3 system will optimize incoming video signals to minimize video artifacts for cleaner signal processing and set the standard in advanced high definition television picture performance.

Other state-of-the-art features include the HDMI™ connection with HDCP (High Definition Multimedia Interface with High-bandwidth Digital Copy Protection), and a Memory Stick® media slot. HDMI with HDCP, an enhanced version of DVI-HDTV, is the latest interconnect between digital sources, supporting uncompressed high definition video and processing stereo audio through a single cable while being backward compatible. The Memory Stick media slot, compatible with Memory Stick Pro™ and Memory Stick Duo™ media formats allows convenient JPEG and MPEG1 file playback. It can also display a customized slide show with MP3 file background music.

The new XS line adds a new convenience feature—a simple, color illustrated set up guide for quick and accurate installation— to reduce the amount of time consumers spend setting up their home theater systems.

The stylish new XS line is housed in a transparent top and bottom floating glass design to accommodate the trendiest environment. The 37-inch KDE-37XS955 (1024 x 1024), the 42-inch KDE-42XS955 (1024 x 1024) and 50-inch KDE-50XS955 (1366 x 768) Plasma WEGA models will be available this fall for about $5,500, $7,000 and $9,000, respectively.

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