New Philips TVs Sport Mirrors, Halos
LAS VEGAS -- An LCD TV that doubles as a wall mirror, TVs with halos, camcorders the size of a flash memory device, and wireless home theater products dominate a plethora of new products from Philips Electronics at the Consumer Electronics Show here this week.
TVs Grow Halos
For those who care about good video but also want their flat-screen TV to augment their decor, Philips has introduced its Ambilight LCD and plasma televisions. This line of TVs features a system by which light emanates from the back of the TV onto the wall. The effect around the TV frame is halo-like, which is very striking aesthetically, but Philips representatives say it's also practical--causing less eyestrain and a perception of better image resolution.
Ambilight technology can adjust light intensity and color to red, green, blue, or a combination that fits the room decor and mood, according to the company. Sensors determine how much light is in the room and automatically control light intensity.
Philips representatives say the technology not only produces a pleasing ambiance, but also reduces glare and reflection on the television's surface by screening light sources that strike the set.
Philips' new Matchline series of three LCD FlatTVs and its two 50-inch plasma FlatTV models all feature the Ambilight technology. All the sets can display high-definition TV signals. All are scheduled to ship in the second quarter.
The 32-inch diagonal LCD FlatTV model has a suggested retail price of $5999; the 37-inch model, $7999; and the 42-inch, $9999. The 50-inch diagonal plasma FlatTV models, the 50PF9986 and the 50PF9966, are expected to retail for $9999.
Mirror TV Debuts
Among the unique products here at CES is Philips MiraVision Mirror TV, a versatile LCD display integrated into a mirror. Philips is developing it in a range of sizes, including 17-, 23- and 30-inch-diagonal displays.
Philips says this television, which uses polarized mirror technology, is the first commercial product created by Philips HomeLab, the company's research incubator for future electronic products and technologies. A version at CES has an LCD TV running on the lower half of the mirror, so you could literally watch a program and see if your hair is out of place at the same time.
The company expects the product will appeal to hotels and retail environments because the design hides the electronics. At sizes up to 30 inches, the MiraVision Mirror TV can be placed on the wall as a centerpiece.
Company officials estimate the home version may be available before 2005.
TV That Streams Everything
The company also announced a major new product in its Streamium range of Wi-Fi-enabled audio/video streaming devices: the Streamium Home Theater System.
The device is a DVD/CD player with six integrated 75-watt audio amplifiers that drive the stereo speakers, the matching rear speakers, a center speaker, and two subwoofers built into the rear speaker columns. It also features 802.11g wireless access to multimedia content from connected PCs or online entertainment services.
The MX6000i Streamium Home Theater System is scheduled to roll out in the next three months carrying a retail price of $799. You can connect it to either a wireless or Ethernet home network. Bundled software enables you to stream movies, pictures, and music from the hard disks of networked PCs.
The MX6000i device itself is a five-disc changer that can play any combination of CD, CD-RW, MP3-CD, VCD, DVD, DVD+RW, Kodak Picture CD, and JPEG Picture CD discs. It includes Dolby Digital, Dolby ProLogic II, and DTS decoding.
The product can also access a variety of online music already available through Philips' existing Streamium service partners. Those include MusicMatch, live365.com, Radio Free Virgin, Playhouse Radio, and Andante. Philips says it will download new software to add services and features, such as online games and access to Web-based photo albums.
New and Portable
Philips is also readying another entertainment product for spring release--a much more portable one.
The wearable Key019 Camcorder Key Ring will enable consumers to capture 80 minutes of continuous MPEG4 video. The device is slightly larger than a typical USB flash memory device. You can also use the Key Ring as a 2-megapixel still camera.
The device is scheduled to ship in May with an expected price of $249.
See PC World's ongoing CES coverage.