Here’s a better pic of the Sharp BD player, the BD-HP20U, that I talked about many posts below. Turns out the “10 seconds on” is not exactly true, that’s if the player is already on and ready to go. From what they were telling me, it will still turn on quickly from off, but not that quickly.
Released just last week, DVDO’s iScan VP50Pro is the first THX Certified scaler. It also has HDMI 1.3, and will accept and spit out just about every resolution you can imagine. Along with deinterlacing of 1080i and below, there is also mosquito noise reduction, detail enhancements, and just about every other goody you’d expect from a scaler. It’s $3,500.
Pioneer let loose a new Blu-ray player, the BDP-95FD. It’s part of their Elite line, and has the usual 1080p/24 output and HDMI 1.3. What’s different is that it will actually output the bitstream of Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-HD High Resolution and DTS-HD Master Audio. Up until now, even the HDMI 1.3 BD and HD DVD players all converted these formats to PCM before outputting them digitally. Look for it in October for around $1000.
Toshiba had two big announcements at the show. On the TV side, two new 1080p LCDs in their Regza line are sporting what they claim to be the thinnest bezel on the market, at 0.9 inches. As you can see in the pic, it is indeed very thin. Look for them this month for $1,900 for the 40RF350U and $2,500 for the 46RF350U.
HP showed off their latest version of their MediaSmart TV. Unlike the last generation, this one has the entire MediaSmart bits all integrated into the TV (as in no more butt mounted box or rabbit ears). It’s 1080p, and has a revamped user interface (as you can see in the pic). They’re shipping now and are $2,099 for the 42-inch and $2,499 for the 47-inch.
Panasonic has two new plasmas and two new projectors. The plasmas use the same glass as the 700 series, but lose an HDMI input, the anti-reflective coating, and about $200 each. The TH-42PZ77 is $1800 and the TH-50PZ77 is $2800. Both are scheduled to ship this month.
Toshiba had a press conference, which was an hour of graphs, charts, heat, and blown-out sound effects. I’ll give them credit for the Star Trek theme (of course I would), but after the dozenth time of “HD DVD has won!” or “LCD is the best!” I tuned out.
Sony, not to be outdone by other 1080p projector announcements (see below), unveiled the VPL-VW60, a replacement for the VW50. They claim a doubling of the native contrast ratio, and an available anamorphic lens system to watch 2.35:1 movies without black bars (on a 2.35:1 screen). Even cooler, you can align each LCOS (sorry, SXRD) panel to within 0.1 pixels. So any jarring in shipping or installation can be tweaked out to remove any colored halos. It’s shipping this month for “under $5,000.”
Sharp is finally releasing a Blu-ray player, and they’re claiming it’s all their parts. Certainly a subtle, but perhaps unintended, dig at Sony. The BD-HP20 will ship this month for $549. It will do 1080p/24 and they claim it will go from off to picture in less than 10 seconds. I’ll believe that when I see it. Sorry for the crappy pic. When I do a booth tour later in the show, I’ll get a better one.