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Sony's New HDTV Box

DirecTV subscribers will soon be able to enjoy the kind of digital television performance that cable subscribers can only dream about. On August 7, Sony Electronics announced the SAT-HD200 set-top box (STB), an advanced DirecTV high-definition receiver with multiple format modes, keyword search, a favorite channel list, 20-event reminder, and an electronic programming guide. Subscribers with Digital Visual Interface (DVI) enabled high definition monitors will be able to receive uncompressed wideband high-def programming encoded with Digital Content Protection (HDCP) technology.

The new box isn't intended just for HDTV, however. It is capable of decoding all ATSC formats, as well as standard NTSC signals. The SAT-HD200 features multiple format modes!51;including "multiple conversion" of 480i, 480p, 720p, and 1080i programming—selectable using the supplied remote control. Three variable settings enable automatic format changing, depending on the broadcast signal, such as the "Auto DVI" setting that allows delivery of uncompressed high-def video to secure displays. An advanced program guide from DirecTV simplifies programming choices from all sources without interrupting the program in progress. Eight aspect ratios are accessible using the remote control.

Sony's SAT-HD200 is "a versatile HD solution that can accommodate any high definition source for display," according to the company's marketing director Tim Alessi. "It includes the widely used standard analog and high-definition outputs, as well as the DVI-HDTV digital interface. The SAT-HD200 is a perfect complement to our new Hi-Scan® television sets." The STB's connector array includes HD component (Y/P(B)/P) and RGB video outputs, as well as one S-Video, two composite video, and one RF output. This assortment of connections ensures compatibility with almost any device likely to be attached to the new receiver.

The SAT-HD200 will be available in September for about $900.

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