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CES: Toshiba planning for HDTV surge in 2005

US market soon to open up, company says

High-definition digital televisions and DVD recorders are ready for prime time, Toshiba executives said on Wednesday during a press conference at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

The company plans to expand its current lineup of high-definition (HD) digital televisions and will introduce what it believes is the next-generation of DVD recording technology during 2005.

One of the themes of this year's CES is the growing adoption of HD televisions. US consumers who made the early jump to HD televisions gush about the superior picture quality, but are running into storage problems as they begin converting their entertainment centres to digital technology, said Yoshi Uchiyama, a group vice president at Toshiba's US subsidiary.

Toshiba will address demand for HDTVs with new, larger screens for both its plasma and rear-projection television products, said Scott Ramirez, vice president of marketing for Toshiba America. It will also introduce what Ramirez called the company's "Ferrari", an SED (surface-conduction electron-emitter display) television that will be produced in limited quantities starting later this year. The SED technology allows the television to produce bright, detailed images without the time-delay problems that can crop up on other flat-panel televisions.

The company hopes that once HD televisions start becoming mainstream products, consumers will address their storage problems with its DVD recording technology. Toshiba is backing a standard called HD-DVD and plans to bring an HD-DVD recorder to the US in the fourth quarter of 2005 that will cost around $1,000 (£534), Uchiyama said. A group headed by Sony is backing a rival DVD recording standard known as Blu-ray.

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