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Sony slims 1080p LCD rear-projection TVs

The 2007 Sony line show includes an announcement on LCD-based rear-projection HDTVs with 1080p resolution.

Sony KDF-50E3000
The KDF-50E3000 is a 1080p LCD RPTV. Sony
Sony KDF-37H1000
Sony's slim 37-inch KDF-37H1000 rear-projector Sony

Some of the more notable products announced at the Sony line show today are three rear-projection HDTVs--remember those?--that use LCD technology housed in foot-deep cabinets. Sony has been selling LCD-based RPTVs such as these as its somewhat less-expensive alternative to SXRD-based rear-projectors such as these (more info), but this year there's a new twist: Two of the three LCDs have 1080p native resolution, the highest available today. In other words, just one 2007 Sony RPTV so far, the KDF-37H1000, will have less than 1080p resolution.

The two new 1080p LCDs, the 46-inch KDF-46E3000 and the 50-inch KDF-50E3000, are both due in July. They boast slimmer cabinets than many like-sized RPTVs; the 46-inch model measures 11.9 inches deep, and the 50-inch measures 12.6 inches deep. Aside from 1080p, they include an adjustable Iris, which we've found does help improve black-level performance; the ability to accept 1080p at both 60 and 24 frames per second, the latter of which is said to cut down on judder and flicker when paired with a compatible source (we'll be sure to test that claim); and three component-video along with two HDMI inputs that can also accept PC signals. Sony did not announce pricing, but we assume the 50-inch model will cost less than its 2007 SXRD-based counterpart, the $2,299 KDS-50A2020.

Sony's lone non-1080p rear-projection model is the relatively tiny, 37-inch KDF-37H1000 (May, $1,300), which has a native resolution of 1,280x720 (aka 720p) and a slim cabinet of its own, but exactly how slim was not specified. Sony's press release positions the KDF-37H1000 against CRT-based direct-view televisions, but with numerous 37-inch flat-panel sets, such as Sharp's LC-37D40U, available today for similar prices, we're skeptical that this rear-projection model will achieve popularity.

Sony also announced new flat-panel LCDs and details on its BRAVIA Internet Link product (with which all three of the above sets are compatible), but didn't say much about SXRD-based rear-projection HDTVs.