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New Stuff from Mitsubishi, Panasonic, & Samsung

May 20, 2007

Mitsubishi is rolling out eight new 1080p LCD flat-panels and nine new 1080p DLP rear-projection sets. All have at least three HDMI 1.3 inputs! All have "thin" frames (or bezels), which seems to be something of a trend these days--bigger picture, smaller overall dimensions.

All HDMI inputs are SimplayHD-certified to ensure all HD components work together properly. That's a good thing.

The new LCDs come in four series, with escalating feature levels.

Mitsubishi's LCD "Full Spectrum Color" claims a 25 percent larger color space than standard LCD sets, resulting in "a more vivid, more realistic image." (Please note that "more vivid" often means less realistic; we've seen some of these new broad spectrum sets that exaggerate color saturation. But hey, some people like that.)

The 133 Series, Platinum Black with a Platinum Metallic accent:

  • 40" LT-40133 (msrp $2699),
  • 46" LT-46133 (msrp $3399), and
  • 52" LT-52133 (msrp $4499).

The 134 Series , Platinum Black with a Platinum Black accent:

  • 40" LT-40134 (msrp $2899)

This series adds PerfectColor (individual 6-color adjustment) and PerfecTint (allows tint adjustment for each of the six colors for each input), NetCommand, and a side HDMI 1.3 input.

The 144 Series, Platinum Black with a Platinum Black accent:

  • 46" LT-46144 (msrp $3899), and
  • 52" LT-52144 (msrp $5099)

This series has PerfectColor, a component side input, and adds a 120 Hz refresh rate.

The Diamond Series, "sleek" high-gloss Black Pearl accented by a Diamond Blue light (!):

  • 46" LT-46244 (msrp $4499), and
  • 52" LT-52244 (msrp $5699).

This series has the other stuff (including 120 Hz refresh and PerfectTint), a CableCARD slot, TV Guide Daily, NetCommand, and a side HDMI input.

Mitsubishi's nine new 1080p DLP sets come in three flavors.

All have a 6-Color Light Engine (spinning color wheel), which "generates yellow, cyan, and magenta directly rather than by combining red, green, and blue - results in a wider range of colors, brighter individual colors and purer whiter whites."

The 733 Series:

  • 57" WD-57733 (msrp $2499),
  • 65" WD-65733 (msrp $2999), and
  • 73" WD-73733 (msrp $4699).

The 734 Series:

  • 57" WD-57734 (msrp $2799)
  • 65" WD-65734 ($?), and
  • 73" WD-73734 ($?).

This series adds "Dark Detailer" for deep blacks and rich dark scene detail, PerfecTint, DeepField Imager for dynamic contrast adjustment within an image (that sounds very cool), SharpEdge for stunning picture precision and crisp, sharp object edges (I would turn that off), a front HDMI input, and NetCommand for easy on-screen home theater control and set-up.

The Diamond Series:

  • 57" WD-57833 (msrp $3399)
  • 65" WD-65833 (msrp $3999)
  • 73" WD-73833 (msrp $5899)

This series adds 120 Hz refresh rate, TV Guide On Screen 9.0, Game FX - 3D game capability, IEEE1394 (Firewire input), and RS232C input.

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Panasonic's new Blu-ray Disc player

Panasonic has announced the rollout of its 2nd generation Blu-ray Disc player, the DMP-BD10A, an updated version of its DMP-BD10. The new player has an msrp of $600, more or less half the price of the first-gen player.

The new player handles 7.1 channel audio, decodes Dolby Digital Plus as well as the old standard Dolby Digital and DTS, does 1080p upconversion via HDMI, offers 297 MHz 14-bit digital-to-analog converter, and supports BD Java.

While some other reports have cited Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio decoding, Panasonic's press release did not reference this capability. No matter: new A/V receivers that can decode these new advanced lossless audio formats are now hitting the market from several manufacturers.

The press release did not specifically mention HDMI 1.3, but the described features (including theoretical support for nearly 4400 billion colors) tell us the player does indeed have version 1.3 (I would expect no less).

Buyers will also find five big Blu-ray movie titles packed inside: Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Transporter, Fantastic Four, and Crash.

So now we've got 2nd-gen BD players (announced) from Samsung, Sony, Pioneer, and now Panasonic. HDMI 1.3 outputs, more capable, dramatically lower prices. I expect Sharp's previously announced first player (for 2nd quarter 2007) will show up at something less than the $1200 target price, since the competition is already down to half of that.

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Samsung's New Digital TV Receiver Chip

This is actually pretty exciting (or should be) for people who get their TV via an antenna.

The new Samsung ATSC DTV receiver chip--the S5H1411--uses 65 nano-meter technology. It boasts a 30 percent higher reception success rate than the company's previous generation digital TV receiver chip released in 2005. The chip works with both over-the-air broadcasts and digital cable signals.

The S5H1411 improves performance in multi-path environments where signal interference is high, such as densely populated urban areas, in dynamic environments with serious signal distortion among many moving vehicles, in environments with major signal phase errors because of cable retransmission and in remote areas where reception is generally poor.

The chip is tiny--14 x 14 mm, about the size of a thumbnail, and uses 20 percent less power than competing devices on the market

Samsung expects to install the new device in digital TVs bound for the American market from the third quarter of this year. Presumably we can also expect to see it in Samsung's digital-to-analog converter boxes which should be hitting stores in time for the beginning of the government's subsidy program -- January 1, 2008.