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New products at CES

At the Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas, Nev., this week, manufacturers seemed upbeat after what they say was a good Christmas selling season for their products. No exact figures were available at press time. Among the hundreds of new innovations, new digital TVs, camcorders with professional features and a receiver chip were most noteworthy for broadcasters.

Among the new products shown:

The KV-30XBR910 model represents Sony's first widescreen XBR model in the 30-inch screen size.

Sony Electronics

, whose Trinitron technology became the benchmark for analog television receivers, introduced two new Hi-Scan 1080i models. The KV-34XBR910 and KV-30XBR910, incorporate a proprietary Super Fine Pitch CRT, optimized for displaying high-definition video content when paired with a HD receiver.

Created specifically for HDTV reception, the new CRT features a proprietary aperture grill with 65 percent increased number of vertical “slits,” which improve image resolution. The KV-30XBR910 model represents Sony's first widescreen XBR model in the 30-inch screen size.

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Thomson introduced its RCA Alert Guard system, a warning technology that allows a television set to maintain a constant watch on emergency advisories and weather conditions.

“With RCA Alert Guard, television viewers can expect their family television to keep a constant vigil on ever-changing conditions through the extensive digital broadcasts of the NOAA Weather Radio network. RCA Alert Guard can be personalized to more than 3,000 distinct geographic locations throughout the United States and its territories, and Alert Guard will monitor for the latest information on natural disasters and even man-made emergencies,” said Thomson vice president Michael O'Hara.

Also introduced was new “Digital Light Processing” (DLP) microdisplay technology for Thomson RCA Scenium line of HDTV displays. The feature is based on Texas Instruments’ DLP technology.

A new 50-inch DLP HDTV joins the line of RCA and RCA Scenium HDTV sets “that will now feature built-in digital tuning, expansive wide screens, and secure connections for the latest high-definition content,” said O'Hara.

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Sigma Designs, a manufacturer of IP video streaming products, has announced a family of integrated high-definition television decoder chips to support MPEG-4.

Sigma's new EM8605 and EM8610 decoder chips has an architecture that supports digital TV, DVD, video-on-demand (VOD) and personal video recording (PVR) applications.

Sigma's new EM8605 and EM8610 decoder chips has an architecture that supports digital TV, DVD, video-on-demand (VOD) and personal video recording (PVR) applications.

The EM8605 was designed for media gateways and advanced set-top boxes. It serves as a full function PCI-based media processor, operating in conjunction with an embedded CPU. The EM8605 features high-definition decoding, multi-stream video decoding in MPEG-4, MPEG-2, or MPEG-1 formats, multi-stream audio decoding, 2D graphics acceleration, transport stream handling with CSS (DVD) decryption and advanced display processing.

The EM8610, a stand-alone system-on-chip solution, was designed for Internet-connected, multi-function consumer appliances such as TVs, DVD players and other consumer equipment. It can handle universal media support for video, audio and photographic images.

The EM8605 and EM8610 decoder chips will be sold through Sigma's direct sales force. Samples will be available in March with production scheduled for June.

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Zenith Electronics showed more than 40 new digital products, including a new flat-panel display product line in a dozen screen sizes, a series of digital recording devices and a range of high-definition television (HDTV) receivers and displays.

In flat-panel displays, Zenith is showing an expanded family of LCD TVs, in eight screen sizes from 13 to 52 inches, and of plasma display panels (PDPs) from 40- to 60-inch models, including 50- and 42-inch integrated HDTVs, the first plasma displays with built-in HDTV tuners.

Other introductions include a TiVo high-definition personal video recorder (PVR), to be available beginning this spring. This new ATSC set-top boxes offer built-in 80-gigabyte hard drives to record full HDTV resolution. Other new digital recorders include a standard-definition combination PVR-DVD player and Zenith's first DVD recorder. Zenith also introduced a digital light processor (DLP) rear-projection integrated HDTV, featuring the latest-generation chipset for terrestrial and unscrambled cable HDTV reception. Integrated direct-view HDTVs, including all-new 34- and 30-inch widescreen models, also feature combination terrestrial/cable HDTV tuners.

On the heels of last month's industry agreement on national plug-and-play digital cable standards, Zenith is showing its first implementation of the POD (Point-of-Deployment) interface in a 34-inch widescreen HDTV. "This kind of HDTV, when it comes to market by mid-2004, will be able to receive premium digital HDTV programming via digital cable systems without the need for a set- top box--fulfilling the long-awaited promise of digital cable-ready HDTVs," a spokesman said.

Zenith also debuted a widescreen CRT rear-projection HDTV monitors, terrestrial and satellite HDTV set-top boxes (including a combination DVD player/ATSC set-top box), and several new models of DVD players (all progressive scan), ranging from entry-level single-disc and five-disc changers to combination DVD-VCR combos to compact yet powerful DVD-based home theater audio systems. For more information

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