CEDIA officially opened today at the Denver Convention Center. For the past several years, CEDIA was held in Indianapolis, IN. Denver seems to be nice clean city. While there were several press conferences today, only a handful standout as being noteworthy and related to Digital TV. The first press conference of note was Toshiba. Initially, it was speculated that Toshiba would only talk about their new advertising campaign surrounding their Regza LCD HDTVs. In a surprise move, Toshiba added two new 1080p models in the 42-inch and 47-inch screen sizes, and created a whole new sub-category called Cinema Series Pro. These models are an off-shoot of their Cinema Series line, which feature striking piano black cabinetry. As we all know, LCD TVs are truly a "hot" product category with an estimated 10.0 million units projected to be sold this year. Clearly, every manufacturer wants to have as many of these flat-panel displays in their lines this year.
Toshiba, however, saved the best news for the second half of the press conference. First, the company announced that they had sold approximately 30,000 HD DVD players so far this year, and were outselling Samsung's Blu-ray disc player by 3-to-1. Toshiba also noted that their HD DVD players are now in 3,500 retail outlets across the U.S. Of course, this could all change next month as Sony, Panasonic and Pioneer BD players come to market. So, we will have to wait and see. Toshiba is not resting on its HD DVD laurels as it will be launching two additional models in the Fall timeframe. While one model will still output 1080i, the HD-XA2 will feature HDMI 1.3 and output 1080p. It will pass multi-channel DTS-HD, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby True HD; and retail for $999. This model will be available in December. This is the HD DVD player that someone would want to add to their home theater system. It will even have a leg up on all incoming BD players, which will only include HDMI 1.2, and will not have the capability to pass next-generation multi-channel DTS and Dolby audio codecs. So, this should be interesting
In other news from the show floor, Runco introduced 14 new models including LCD, plasma and front projection displays. Two things stood out with these introductions. First, Runco will be offering a new 50-inch 1080p plasma display for $9,999 (Ironically, Pioneer reduced the price of their 50-inch 1080p Elite plasma display to $8,000 today). Secondly, all of their front projectors will be capable of displaying images in a true widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio (without black bars) vs. 16:9 of standard widescreen projectors. This is a trend in front projector models to offer this capability this year along with an optional anamorphic lens. All of the front projectors from Runco's sister company " Vidikron -- will also have this 2.35:1 mode with optional anamorphic lens. CinemaScope returns to a home theater near you.
Mitsubishi held a short press conference noting that sales of MicroDisplay HDTVs were up 46-percent so far this year over last, and growing. While the company made no new product announcements for CEDIA, it did promise that it would be bringing its laser-based rear projection 1080p DLP to CES 2007 to unveil to the public. Laser-based DLP is being jointly developed by Mitsubishi and Texas Instruments.
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