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To show or not to show – for Philips that was the question. Normally one of the largest exhibitors with a gargantuan booth and numerous attention-getters (such as floor shows and high-wire artists), Philips almost didn’t even show up. In fact, due to a conflict with a bigger European A/V show, only the Pronto division of Philips opted to make an appearance, and even then they were wedged into a tiny booth in one of the side rooms. Oh well, better small than not at all!
Despite the less than ideal conditions, Philips was quite busy showing off their latest product, the Philips ProntoPro NG TSU7000. As we’ve actually already published a full preview of the TSU7000 well before CEDIA, there’s little else to report here except for a few first-hand experiences.
For example, the TSU7000 is absolutely gorgeous in its new sparkly jet black case. I’ve never much cared for silver-hued components, and the TSU7000 once again demonstrates that black absolutely looks best. The new model is also bright and colorful with its active matrix color display. If you have trouble reading black and white screens, you’ll love what the new TFT display can do. The remote is also positively speedy when changing screens and devices, and has plenty of space with a full 32 megabytes of memory (although only 16mb will be accessible at first, later upgraded via a free firmware update to 32mb). For the first time in a Pronto, even the default user interface looks good!
This is definitely going to be the Pronto to get! Retail price is $999 MSRP with docking station. Availability is hopefully before Christmas, although full-color documentation handed out at the show indicates the first quarter of 2004.
HDMI. You may not have heard of it, but Pioneer was making much ado this year about this “high definition multimedia interface”. So what exactly is it? That’s a good question, since none of Pioneer’s press releases exactly stated what this technology actually is supposed to do. After a bit of digging, it appears that HDMI is essentially a DVI/HDCP interface for video, plus digital audio routed on the same cable. Neat!
Quite a few products have been enhanced with this interface. For example, the new deluxe Elite VSX-59TXi receiver has HDMI, along with i.LINK (firewire), THX Ultra2 certification and a full suite of Dolby and DTS decoding capabilities including the latest Dolby Pro Logic IIx. The receiver is capable of driving 130 watts times 7 channels, and sports Pioneer’s “MCACC” feature which includes Acoustic Calibration Setup for room specifications, Auto Pro for automatic test tone analysis and Manual Pro for on-screen display of room acoustic results.
Many of Pioneer’s plasma displays have also been enhanced with HDMI, such as the $14,500 50” PRO-1000HDI, $10,500 43” PRO-800HDI, $7,000 64” PRO-730HDI and $5,000 53” PRO-530HDI. Then there’s also the deluxe $15,000 50” PRO-1100HD and $11,500 43” PRO-910HD, which all come with HDMI. I’d list a few other model numbers, but it’s already obvious that Pioneer’s plasma lineup is more than adequate!
To round out the package, Pioneer also announced a new DVD-Audio and SACD player complete with HDMI and i.LINK interfaces. The Elite DV-59AVi is a progressive scan model that costs $1,600 and includes 216-bit/14-bit video processing (drool!), Burr Brown 192kHz/24-bit audio D/A converters, 4:4:4 video upsampling to true HDTV resolution, fourteen adjustable video parameters, an updated graphical user interface and much more. DVD will never look the same again!