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IFA: Philips looks razor sharp

HDTV guarantees German World Cup win. Apparently

If there's any truth to the saying "seeing is believing," Philips Electronics’ gadget demonstration on Thursday at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin was something to see.

A razor-sharp HDTV (high-definition television) screen showing Dutch soccer star Edgar Davids hitting the ball - and not the face of a German defender as the other shot in normal TV resolution showed.

If HDTV has been slow to get out of the blocks, Philips hopes to kick start the technology next year in conjunction with the FIFA World Cup in Germany. The company currently has around 30 HD-ready flat-screen sets and plans more, according to spokesman Rudy Provoost.

"We're going to push HDTV not only with new sets but also through a number of content partnerships," Provoost said.

In that vein, Philips announced a partnership with German pay-TV company Premiere, which has purchased the rights to broadcast all of the World Cup games.

Numerous manufacturers have blamed a lack of content in the HDTV format as one of the main reasons for the technology's slow start. With its deal with Premiere and others to be announced, Philips hopes to change this.

Advances in television technology have accompanied the World Cup games over the decades – and the German teams playing in them, said Ronald de Jong, general manager of Philips in Germany.

"In 1954, the first World Cup game was broadcast, and the German team won," he said. "In 1974, the first World Cup game was broadcast in color, and the German team won. Next year, the first World Cup game will be broadcast in the HDTV format, and who do you think is going to win?"

Another Philips product is the GoGear hard-disk drive jukebox, with one model – the GoGear HDD6320 – offering 30GB of storage. The devices are designed for easy navigating of songs, with a backlit sensory touchpad, but can also be used to store photos. They use Microsoft's PlaysforSure software. The HDD1620 has 6GB of storage, and the HDD1420 has a 4GB hard disk.

Philips also unveiled a cordless videophone that allows video calls over broadband IP connections, as well as a series of DVD recorders including a model with integrated hard disk.

The IFA runs from Friday to Wednesday in Berlin.

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