HD-2: twice as slim?
Companies have been promising that LCD, LCoS, and DLP rear-projection TVs
would slim down to sizes that begin to rival flat-panel displays, and the HLP5685W
is evidence of that progression. The set is powered by Texas Instruments' new HD-2 Plus chip that allows for a 1,280x720 resolution, enough to show every pixel of 720p HDTV. This 56-incher has both a DVI and a HDMI connection, which are compatible with the latest cable and satellite set-top boxes, as well as with DVI DVD players.
is due out in September and will sell for just less than $5,499. By comparison, a plasma display of a similar size would retail for more than $10,000. That said, we're still a little surprised to see that prices for DLP rear-projection sets aren't dropping--even for models that aren't all that slim. For example, in June, Samsung is set to release a second floor-standing 56-inch DLP set that's not quite as thin and is also powered by the new TI HD-2 Plus chipset. That TV is tentatively priced at around $5,000.
DLP-based HDTVs aren't the only rear-projection sets that Samsung has announced. The company is showing off a couple of new CRT-based HDTVs, including a budget 42-inch tabletop model that will list for $1,299 when it arrives in April. Samsung is also planning a 43-inch tabletop model ($1,999) with an integrated DVD player and surround-sound system, though it uses simulated surround as opposed to actual surround speakers. Flat gets better
As noted, several plasmas and LCDs are on tap, including a slick 50-inch plasma that will retail for $12,999 when it hits the street in April. That plasma boasts an integrated 802.11a wireless media box that allows you to stream video and other content to it. A 42-inch EDTV plasma will retail for $4,499 and offer built-in virtual-surround technology. Meanwhile, Samsung LCDs will start at $599 for a 15-inch model and go up to $4,499 for the 32-incher. Again, we're not seeing a significant price drop for LCDs or plasmas, but users should see an incremental improvement in picture quality and additional connectivity.
HTIB goes Bluetooth
| | The compact Samsung HT-DB490 HTIB with wireless rear-channel speakers | |
In the HTIB realm, the most talked-about piece of gear is the compact HT-DB490
($499), a kit that features wireless rear-channel speakers employing Rear Block Bluetooth Wireless Technology. The company was set to announce the HT-SK4
, another $500 HTIB that includes Klipsch speakers, but that turned out to be premature. It's unclear whether or not that product will ship in 2004.
The DVD lineup
| || | Samsung DVD-HD841 DVI DVD player
Last but not least, Samsung is updating its line of DVI-equipped DVD players, which are designed to work with many of the company's new HDTVs and offer improved picture quality with DLP, LCD, and plasma TVs. Unfortunately, the DVD-HD841
($249) and HD-941
($349) won't be available until the fall. Coming in April, however, are a portable DVD player with a whopping 12-inch screen ($1,199) and two new sub-$500 DVD recorders that appear hauntingly similar to Panasonic models.
A third DVD recorder with a 120GB hard drive is supposed to show up in August, so it looks like Samsung will keep us busy writing reviews throughout the coming year.