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New Year Special Features '99

  • Sony, Hitachi Display Wares at Consumer Electronics Show
  • January 12, 1999 (SAN FRANCISCO) -- Asia-based electronics companies displayed a wide array of products at the 1999 Winter Consumer Electronics Show (CES)
    CES is one of the world's largest information technology events. It was staged Jan. 7-10 in Las Vegas, Nev.

    The companies, which included Sony Corp., Hitachi Ltd., Toshiba Corp., Casio Computer Co., NEC Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., joined U.S. and European counterparts in unveiling new consumer devices.

    Howard Stringer, chairman and CEO of Sony Corp. of America, gave a keynote speech at the show.

    Among the products Sony displayed was a 65-in. high-definition television, which the company said is its most advanced big-screen TV. The theme of Sony's CES display was called "Fast Forward to the Future."

    "DTV will be a consumer-driven phenomenon, and in the future, it will be the electronic nerve center of the home," Stringer said.

    He also noted that electronic commerce will be crucial in boosting sales of new digital products.

    "Sony's CES exhibit underscores how Sony products provide the most enjoyable way for consumers to achieve the benefits of the digital future," said Fujio Nishida, president of Sony Electronics Inc.'s consumer products marketing group.

    Sony was just one of about 20 manufacturers showing DTVs, HDTVs, liquid-crystal displays (LCDs) and plasma display panel (PDP) products, among others. Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. were also among the companies showing new screen technologies.

    Hitachi Home Electronics (America) Inc. announced an expansion of its product lines, including advanced plasma display panel screens.

    Hitachi displayed its UltraVision Digital line of HDTVs and conventional TVs, including the 61HDX98B, a fully integrated HDTV system that is slated to be available in February at a retail price of US$7,999. This new HDTV has a built-in DirecTV System receiver and an 8VSB digital decoder capable of receiving all 18 Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) digital formats.

    Hitachi demonstrated a pair of new optical disk recording devices.

    The devices are expected to record on a medium that is compatible with DVD players and PC-DVD drives, and are targeted for introduction in 2000, according to Hitachi. Using the MPEG2 compression technique, the recorder will be able to store about four hours of moving pictures on a 12cm disc.

    Hitachi officials said this type of product could capture as much as a third of the global VCR market by 2005.

    Hitachi Home Electronics (America), a subsidiary of Hitachi America Ltd., develops and sells a variety of consumer electronics and commercial multimedia products.

    Also at the CES event, Toshiba Imaging Systems, an Irvine, Calif.-based division of Toshiba America Information Systems Inc., introduced a new digital camera. The PDR-M3, the company's first megapixel camera to feature a state-of-the-art 3X optical zoom and rechargeable batteries, will be available in February.

    The PDR-M3 camera has a 1.5 million pixel resolution, a four-mode flash, a SmartMedia storage capability, and it features a simple point-and-shoot operation, the company said.

    Many other Asian companies introduced new digital cameras with megapixel technology and an assortment of innovative features.

    (Neil Davis, Asia BizTech Correspondent)

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    Updated: Mon Jan 11 15:14:57 1999 PDT