Matsushita Digital TVs debut in U.S.

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TOKYO -- Japanese electronics giant Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. said August 5 it has shipped its first batch of highdefinition digital TVs to the U.S., where they will be put on sale this week.

The Matsushita digital TV is one of the first HDTV products to hit the consumer market.

The first digital TVs have 56inch projection monitors, and the company said it has timed the marketing of the products with the introduction of digital TV broadcasts in the U.S., which start this fall.

"This new monitor will not only display the astounding clarity and detail of the new digital television broadcast format, but will also enhance the picture quality of today's standard (NTSC) programming," Matsushita said in a statement.

A spokeswoman added that Matsushita intends to supply all the technology that will ensure the new digital sets are capable of using all the different types of broadcast formats.

Set top decoder boxes are expected to debut in October in the U.S. along with a 32-inch monitor/receiver and a combination digital and analog VCR, the company said.

Although Matsushita did not release a suggested retail price for the digital TVs, each set is expected to cost several thousand dollars.

Matsushita plans to produce TV sets with built-in decoders later this month for sale in the U.K.

Copyright August 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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