(Nikkei BP Group)
(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)
| Sony Launches HDTV Set to Jump Into Digital Future
September 18, 1998 (BOSTON) -- With the United States ready to launch
limited digital television broadcasts this fall, Sony Corp. introduced
what it pegs as the industry's first direct-view high-definition television
set as a portal to the digital future.
|To coincide with what company officials are calling two of the biggest
changes in the television industry in 50 years -- the dawn of digital
television and the creation of the flat screen picture tube -- Sony
Electronics Inc. of Park Ridge, N.J. introduced the industry's first
direct-view, totally flat screen HDTV set.
The 34-in., 16-by-9 widescreen television, featuring Sony's proprietary
FD Trinitron flat screen picture tube, was demonstrated for the first
time in New York on Sept. 17.
"This is just the beginning. Digital television is an evolution, not
a revolution," said Fujio Nishida, president of the Consumer Products
Marketing Group at Sony Electronics. "Today, we are introducing a feature-rich,
high-definition television that maximizes the incredible HDTV signal."
The FD Trinitron Wega HDTV set (KW-HD1) is scheduled to go on sale in
late November at a suggested retail price of US$8,999.
The direct-view technology Sony is using with its HDTV set incorporates
the industry's first visually flat screen picture tube. The picture
tube in Sony's high-definition set is based on the same flat technology
used in the company's recently introduced FD Trinitron Wega NTSC televisions.
Sony's new HDTV set will have the ability to decode all of the immediately
available DTV formats approved by the Advanced Television Standard Committee
(ATSC). It will also display HDTV signals at 1080I resolution.
Additionally, Sony's HDTV set receives and provides Dolby Digital sound
when coupled with Dolby Digital receivers. Consumers will be able to
enjoy 5.1 channels of surround sound to maximize the home entertainment
According to Jim Palumbo, vice president of Sony's Display Marketing
Division, precise corner-to-corner focusing and depth of field are achieved
with the new high focus electron gun. The fine pitch aperture grille
provides enhanced clarity and detail. Sony also matched the new electron
gun with a high precision deflection yoke to assure consistent beam
spot and shape, resulting in accurate image reproduction, by assimilating
computer display technology.
The Sony HDTV set is designed to display free over-the-air digital broadcasts
when connected to an optional, external antenna. An additional high-performance
feature is an HD component input designed to be "future-ready" to accept
a variety of other digital sources, including digital cable set-top
boxes with HD component out.
"With more than 65 percent of U.S. households receiving programming via
cable, Sony's HD component input may serve the cable industry and consumers
by allowing cable subscribers access to broadcast HD programming if
local cable operators elect to provide set-top boxes with HD component
outputs," Palumbo said.
Sony has developed two proprietary technologies for the sets: Digital
Reality Creation (DRC) and Multi Image Driver (MID) circuitry.
Palumbo said that DRC upconverts standard definition video signals from
sources including broadcast television, cable, videotape, digital satellite
systems, DVD and WebTV Internet terminals to four times their original
image resolution, delivering a picture approaching high-definition quality.
According to Palumbo, the Multi Image Driver (MID) circuitry can simultaneously
view images from digital and analog sources, regardless of the digital
sources' format. MID circuitry has a Twin-View function that can display
two signal sources (WebTV and NTSC or HD and NTSC, for example) on the
same screen by converting both signals to 480P quality.
(Lori Valigra, Asia BizTech Correspondent)