Sony Electronics introduced today the industry’s most comprehensive lineup of 12 Digital Cable Ready, fully integrated HDTV sets, forging the way for digital cable subscribers to conveniently access digital cable service. The new HDTV sets range in screen sizes from 30- to 60-inch models in the FD Trinitron® WEGA® direct-view CRT, Grand WEGA™ microdisplay LCD and the CRT rear projection television categories.
In addition, Sony unveiled two high-definition digital video recorders, featuring an integrated hard disk drive for recording and control of live broadcasts and an electronic program guide for easy access to a variety of high definition programming.
All of these new products will be designed to comply with CableLabs® CableCARD™ technology. CableCARD is a removable security module which, when inserted in a digital cable ready receiver or TV, enables the delivery of secure, digital audio/video content. It allows consumers to receive digital cable programming, including HDTV content without the need of a cable box from the local cable operator. Where supported, CableCARD modules will be provided by cable operators to consumers upon request.
Sony Electronics’ ongoing, aggressive efforts to deliver the ultimate HDTV viewing experience to consumers have led to this expansive lineup that merges digital cable receiver technology with advanced high definition television for simplicity and convenience. This, along with the planned CableCARD-based interface make Sony’s new televisions compatible with virtually all cable TV systems across the country.
“There are currently more than 70 million cable TV subscribers, and more high-definition content is becoming available to them every day,” said Tim Baxter, senior vice president for Sony Electronics’ Home Products Division.
“As the leader in the U.S. DTV market, it’s our goal to support this trend by enhancing the consumer viewing experience and providing the latest technology through a line of new products that allows easier access to digital content.”
Wide Range of Screen Sizes and Technologies
The new HDTV sets, designed to include a CableCARD-based interface, provide a comprehensive HD solution and will feature a variety of advanced picture technologies, including:
Leading this year’s FD Trinitron WEGA direct-view TV line is the 34-inch widescreen KD-34XBR960 with top-of-the-line performance features and advanced picture technologies for a breathtaking viewing experience.
Utilizing second generation Super Fine Pitch™ CRT technology, which was developed exclusively for displaying high definition content, the KD-34XBR960 produces true to life, high-resolution images with virtually no visible vertical scanning lines on the screen for outstanding corner to corner image precision. The KD-34XBR960 34-inch model will be available in June for about $2,200.
Sony is also adding the XS-series to the FD Trinitron WEGA lineup. The expanded line will also feature Super Fine Pitch technology and include the widescreen 34-inch KD-34XS955, KD-30XS955 30-inch and 4:3 KD-36XS955 36-inch models. The widescreen models will be available for $2,000 $1,400, respectively in August and the 36-inch model will sell for around $1,900 in October.
In the Grand WEGA microdisplay LCD rear projection television category, there will be six new fully integrated HDTV models. Available in 42-, 50-, 55- and 60-inch screen sizes, the broad lineup of Grand WEGA televisions offers a wide choice in cosmetic styling.
These televisions utilize a proprietary LCD Optical Engine with Sony’s WEGA Engine™ system to deliver exceptional, detailed picture quality from any video source by minimizing the digital-to-analog conversion process.
The Grand WEGA line consists of the KDF-42WE655, KDF-50WE655, KDF-55WF655, and KDF-60WF655 models, which all have new design features. They will be available in September for $2,800, $3,000, $3,700 and $4,000, respectively.
The step-up KDF-55XS955 and KDF-60XS955 models will be available in September as well for about $4,000 and $4,400.
Sony is also introducing two CRT rear projection, fully integrated high definition televisions, designed with a CableCARD-based interface, in 51- and 57-inch widescreen models. This year’s KDP-51WS655 and KDP-57WS655 models will be available in September for around $2,100 and $2,400, respectively.
For the 10 million existing DTV owners who want access to digital cable high definition content, Sony introduces a new line of HD digital video receiver/recorders. The new recorders, the DHG-HDD100 and the DHG-HDD200, provide access to encrypted high-definition and standard-definition digital cable services when paired with a CableCARD. They also provide access to legacy analog cable services, as well as non-subscription services such as high definition digital terrestrial and analog broadcasts.
The DHG-HDD200 digital video recorder can record and store up to 250 hours of standard definition programming or at least 25 hours of maximum bit rate high-definition content on its internal hard drive. The DHG-HDD100 will record up to 120 hours of SD programming and at least 12 hours of HD content.
The DHG-HDD100 and DHG-HDD200 will also include these features:
HDMI digital video output with backwards compatibility to DVI monitors;
Integrated electronic program guide (EPG) for convenient on-screen display of variety of programming;
Component video output for connection to many high-definition TVs;
Several standard-definition analog outputs for connection to legacy recording equipment or analog TVs;
Multiple display formats and flexible aspect ratio settings for outstanding reproduction of all broadcast formats on a wide variety of DTVs;
Dolby® Digital 5.1 channel audio decoding with digital optical audio output;
USB and data ports for connecting accessory devices;
Memory Stick™ media slot for convenient JPEG and MPEG1 file playback. It can also display customized slide show with MP3 file background music; and
A five device universal remote control.
The DHG-HDD100 and the DHG-HDD200 digital video receiver/recorders will be available this fall for about $700, and $800, respectively.