HDTVs Getting Cheaper By the Minute

A "new breed of Digital High-Definition Television Receivers" is about to be unleashed by Thomson Electronics, manufacturer and marketer of RCA and Proscan. According to the company, four new HDTV models are now in pilot production in Thomson's facilities, including the "world's largest direct-view widescreen HDTV" intended to dramatically reduce consumer prices for HDTV products.

Thomson claims it will drop prices for its HDTV products by more than 50% with the introduction of its first direct-view, widescreen HDTV in a few weeks. Thomson's Mike O'Hara explains that they are "ready to capitalize on the digital television revolution with a complete offering of high-resolution and high-definition television receivers. With digital television moving into the mainstream, we are confident that consumers will react very favorably to the performance and new affordable pricing of these cutting-edge digital television products."

Thomson says that the RCA 38-inch widescreen HDTV will now be offered to consumers at $3,799, featuring built-in analog and digital tuners, as well as standard and high-definition decoders for DirecTV. The company adds that 38-inch HDTV products are expected to begin shipment to retailers in late July.

Thomson says it also readying two new rear projection HDTV models, including 61-inch RCA and 65-inch Proscan models that will feature built-in electronics for both over-the-air and satellite reception of digital TV. The company states that "no additional set-top receivers are necessary with these RCA and Proscan products to receive FCC-approved ATSC digital TV standard broadcasts." The 65-inch 16x9 Proscan will retail for $5,499 and the RCA 61-inch rear-projection digital HDTV model checks in at $4,999.

Thomson states that both the RCA and Proscan brands will also release all-new 38-inch widescreen models, which the company claims are the world's largest direct-view digital HDTV monitors. Another new feature, says Thomson, is an HD Component Video input that automatically adjusts the scan rate and allows for connection of regular or progressive scan DVD players or component-output HDTV set-top devices such as digital cable products.

For consumers who want to improve their Home Theater systems, but don't want to invest in integrated HDTV receivers, Thomson says it will offer a line of HDTV products that permit display of either television or computer images. The sets available include 52-inch, 36-inch, and 32-inch sizes, and will soon expand to include larger and smaller sets, with 27-inch, 32-inch, and 61-inch products in development. Current rear projection models include the RCA 52-inch at $2,799 and the Proscan 52-inch at $2,999. Additionally, the Proscan 32-inch retails at $1,799, while the RCA 36-inch goes for $1,999.