Around April or May, Philips will release its new line of FlatTV LCDs. The FlatTV series will contain sets ranging from 14 to 42 inches, priced between $599 and $9,999. The company will also deliver 37-, 42-, 50-, and 61-inch plasmas, ranging in price from $3,999 to $15,999. This doesn't mark much of a price drop from last year's models, but in theory, the new TVs will boast improved performance, with select models offering PixelPlus 2 and Ambilight technologies. Set the mood
Ambilight is something of a gimmick, but it does have some cool factor going for it. It's exactly what it sounds like: ambient lighting that's projected from the back of the display onto the wall behind the TV. Using the remote, you can adjust the intensity of the light and choose from shades of red, green, blue, or a mix of the three. You can leave Ambilight on when the TV is off, which conjures up images of Cedrick the Entertainer trying to set the mood in a beer commercial. Or perhaps Austin Powers will make use of it in his next movie and proclaim it "shagadelic." TVs that do streaming
The 23-inch 23PF9976i
will be Philips's first Streamium LCD TV (you remember its Streamium boom box
, right?). The set will allow you to access audio, still images, and video from the Internet or a PC over your home network via Wi-Fi or Ethernet. Two new 17- and 26-inch LCDs will feature the aforementioned slots for Smart Media, SD/MMC, Compact Flash, and Memory Stick media.
Improve your DVD burning
| | Top-of-the-line Philips DVDR755 DVD recorder | |
While flat-panel displays are certainly a major focus for Philips, it's also forging ahead with five new DVD recorders that range in price from $499 to $799. Available in the summer of 2004, the top-of-the-line DVDR755
is being touted as the first DVD recorder to feature a DVI with HDMI output. (It's compatible with the new breed of HDTVs that include this all-digital input, which offers the optimal picture quality for DVD viewing.) Also this summer, Philips will finally serve up a DVD recorder with a built-in hard drive: the 80GB FireWire-equipped HDRW720
($699). None of the new recorders will have the TiVo service built in, but some will include the TV Guide On-Screen Electronic Program Guide (EPG) for selecting shows to record.