At the recent Toshiba product line show, which was held in the outskirts of Albuquerque, NM at the luxurious Hyatt Tamaya resort on May 19th, the company unveiled their first completely tunerless rear projection CRT monitors capable of displaying high-definition TV signals. The set sets in the new Custom SeriesHD Series include no tuning whatsoever, and will reply on the consumer of adding a separate HD Satellite and HD Cable Box.
To this reporter, it was seemingly a bold move. However, it was later found out that by eliminating all tuning, the sets bypassed the FCC tuner mandate for all TVs 36-in. and above, which goes into effect on July 1st. And, as a bonus, the company will be able to offer the sets at much lower prices. The 57-in. widescreen model " 57HC85 " is priced at $1,599.99 (list), which means that it will sell for about $1,300-$1,400 (street). Toshiba will also offer a 51-in. model (51HC85 @ $1,399.99 list).
Both models will include PowerFocus HD CRTs, and the PowerFocusHD lens system along with their TheaterShield acrylic panel. Integrated features include: CrystalScan HDSC video processing, dynamic quadruple focus, DFine hi-speed velocity scan modulation, CableClear digital noise reduction, and split screen POP (with external tuners). The sets will include SRS WOW sound along with HDMI digital video input and an illuminated universal remote.
Surprisingly, at presstime, in a conversation with an official from RCA, it was mentioned that RCA will also be offering tuner less rear projection CRT monitors. As well, Hitachi is also contemplating tunerless CRT-based rear projection TV. Presumably, it was learned that since these type of sets have been offered to the public for so long, they are a lot less expensive to produce, and offer the consumer good value. It was pointed out that CRT still maintains excellent image quality over all of the flat-panel TVs and micro-displays. So, the notion of a tuner less rear projection CRT is not the brainstorm of one single company, but could be start of a trend among all producers of rear projection CRTs for the U.S. market.