Sony's New XBR Flat Panel Plasma TVs
Building on the legacy of Sony's WEGA technology, the new 42" KE-42XBR900, with 1280 x 768 pixel resolution, and the 50" KE-50XBR900, with 1365 x 768 pixels, are two-piece plasma panel/media receiver units equipped with the new WEGA Engine(TM) system that displays brilliant images on the new high-definition panels. The proprietary WEGA Engine is claimed to deliver superb picture quality from any video source by minimizing the number ofdigital-to-analog conversion processes and maximizing picture performance. The sysstem includes a "composite component processor" which increases the signal to noise ratio when converting the signal from analog to digital, and a "Digital Reality Creation" function to "give viewers complete control over the level of DRC circuitry depending on quality of input signal, thereby displaying clear, stable images, no matter what the video source," according to a company announcement.
Other image improvement features include Sony's "CineMotion" reverse 3:2 pulldown circuitry, which allows optimum performance of film-based video sources, and a "digital component processor" that "fine tunes the signal and makes adjustments to improve overall contrast and sharpness before the image is displayed on the plasma panel."
The screen appears as a floating glass panel in both models, with an opaque black border edging the silver frame. A slim cable connects the flat panel to a companion "Media Receiver Unit" (MRU), a convenient set-top box component providing easy connection to any video and audio source. The new sets are both designed to accept Memory Stick media, for display of digital photos and other images.
The MRU also incorporates a Digital Visual Interface (DVI-HDTV) connection that enables copy-protected, high-definition video content to be delivered to the unit from a DVI/HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) compatible set-top box, such as Sony's new SAT-HD200 HD/DIRECTV receiver, also recently announced and available in September at approximately $900 retail. With built-in speakers and a total of 40 watts of audio power, the KE-42XBR900 and the KE-50XBR900 Plasma WEGA models will be available this fall for about $12,000 and $15,000, respectively. Sony marketing director Tim Alessi described the new XBR plasma TVs as designed "for those with an eye for advanced, state-of-the art home theater products."