New Sony Lineup

Sony is angling for a big slice of the home theater market with its new product lineup. At a late February retailers' showcase held in New York, the manufacturing giant trotted out no fewer than 12 new integrated HDTV sets and two new high-definition digital video recorders.

Sony's new displays include FD Trinitron WEGA direct view CRT sets, Grand WEGA LCD units, and CRT rear projection TVs. Sizes range from 30" diagonally up to 60". The new TVs feature CableCard compatibility, allowing direct hookup of cable feeds without the need for set-top converter boxes (STBs), and should begin arriving at dealers this summer.

Due in June at about $2200 is the 34" FD Trinitron WEGA KD-34XBR960, a CRT claimed capable of high-resolution images with no visible scanning lines. Corner-to-corner linearity is claimed to be excellent, rendering very low picture-distortion. New to the FD Trinitron WEGA line are three "XS" series sets, the widescreen 30" KD-30XS955 and 34" KD-34XS955, and a 4:3 model, the 36" KD-36XS955. Prices will be $1400, $2000, and $1900, with August availability on the widescreen models and October delivery on the 4:3.

LCD microdisplay rear projection is getting a boost from Sony, with six new models in sizes ranging from 42" to 60". The company's proprietary WEGA LCD Optical Engine is said to offer exceptional picture quality by maintaining the signal in the digital domain. Due in September, the LCD series includes the 42" KDF-42WE655, the 50" KDF-50WE655, the 55" KDF-55WF655, and the 60" KDF-60WF655 models, priced at $2800, $3000, $3700, and $4000, respectively. The 55" KDF-55XS955 and 60" KDF-60XS955 will carry $4000 and $4400 price tags, respectively.

Sony hasn't abandoned CRT rear-projection technology, however, having introduced two new widescreen HD RP sets, both with CableCard slots. The 51" KDP-51WS655 and 57" KDP-57WS655 will be relatively inexpensive at $2100 and $2400, respectively. Both are due in September. Also due this fall from Sony are two high-definition digital video recorders, the DHG-HDD100 and DHG-HDD200, priced at $700 and $800, respectively.