HomeSoftwareArchiveTop TipsGlossaryOther Stuff




Toshiba chose the recent Electrical Retailing trade show in Birmingham to debut their first DVD player, though they made it clear that the SD3006D would not be available until the Autumn, when they’re hopeful there will be a good supply of PAL software. Toshiba are reluctant to talk prices, but a figure of £500 has been mentioned.


The big news however, was the unveiling of Europe’s first home cinema TVs with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound systems. There will be two models to begin with -- due to reach UK dealers this Summer -- with 28 and 32-inch widescreen displays. They have been designed to partner Toshiba’s DVD player, which will have the necessary multi-channel output. Top features include a super-flat screen, 100 Hz display, multi-standard operation. The sound system defaults to normal Dolby Pro-Logic, for software that doesn’t have the necessary digital soundtrack. Both sets will be supplied with a full set of speakers, a dedicated sub-woofer and cabinet stand No word on prices just yet, but we’ll keep you posted.


Rounding off the new arrivals, Toshiba are adding three NICAM TVs to their 97 model line-up; they’re the 21-inch 2173DB, 25-inch 2573DB and 28-inch 2873DB. All  have 2 x 10 watt (RMS) sound systems, auto tuning, multi-mode picture control, twin SCART and front AV sockets. Also new for 97 will be two NICAM VCRs, which Toshiba say are amongst the most Channel 5 friendly machines on the market. During the set-up routine the V727 and V857 automatically search the broadcast band to find a free output channel, then seek out Channel 5, which has already been allocated channel slot number 5 on the tuner. The 727 goes on sale in June for £360, the 857, which has additional noise reduction circuitry, is being billed as an edit deck and has a suggested retail price £460. 

Toshiba UK Ltd., telephone (01276) 62222



Hitachi are gearing up for a busy second half of the year with the launch of almost a dozen new TVs, four VCRs, their first televideo, a revolutionary digital camcorder, a video home security system, not to mention various audio and multimedia products.  Here’s a selection. They’ve got four widescreen TVs lined up for the Autumn, starting with the 24-inch C24W1TN. It’s NICAM equipped and will sell for £700. There are two 28-inch 16:9 models; the C28W1TN is another NICAM set, costing £800. The C28WD2TN has Dolby Pro-Logic and 3DS spatial sound, which is also featured on it’s 32-inch stablemate, the C32D2TN, prices will be £1000 and £1500 respectively. Both sets can be used with optional cordless rear speakers.


Dolby Pro Logic and 3DS sound are the headline features on three of their new 4:3 NICAM sets, based on the ‘86’ series chassis. They are the C2186TN, C2586TN and C2886TN, which will be selling for £500, £700 and £800. There’s three more NICAM sets, also with 21, 25 and 28-inch screens, they’re the C2156TN (£380), C2665TN (£480) and C2856TN (£580).


Two of Hitachi’s four new VCRs are NICAM models, they’re the VT-F645 and VT-F660, costing £350 and £380. Both have satellite control, auto set-up and Hitachi’s Dynamic Picture Equaliser circuitry, for improved picture stability. Additionally the F660 has a jog/shuttle control, NTSC replay and audio/video dubbing. Their first TV/VCR combi is the 14-inch C1420VT, which has VideoPlus+ programming and teletext, it will sell for just under £400.


There’s two unusual products to look out for: i-Watch is a miniature low-light, black and white video camera, with a built in microphone; it’s designed to plug into the back of a domestic TV or VCR. It switches on automatically in response to sound, so it could be used to keep watch on the front door, or a sleeping baby. The complete kit, which include a mounting bracket, 20 metres of cable and a SCART adaptor will be selling for £150.


Finally there’s the extraordinary MPEG digital camera. It is designed to capture still and moving images for downloading into a PC. Recordings are stored on a 260 megabyte memory card, and internal hard disc drive. It has the capacity to record 3000 still images, 1000 stills with ten-second audio clips, or 20 minutes of full motion video with audio. It goes on sale later in the Summer and is expected to cost around £2000.

Hitachi Home Electronics, telephone 0181-849 2000



Exactly one year after announcing their intentions to market a DVD player -- and six months after it was due to appear -- Thomson finally unveiled their first machine at a recent trade show in Birmingham. The DTH-1000 goes on sale at selected outlets for £499.99. Early adopters may have some difficulty finding anything to play on it, apart from their existing CD collection; supplies of PAL encoded DVD software are likely to remain scarce until the Autumn.


Meanwhile, they’ve got a strong-looking range of TVs and VCRs to look forward to. There are two new 4:3 NICAM TVs, joining three others launched earlier in the year. They are the 21-inch 21DS73H (£380) and 33-inch 37MG73J (£1800). Three new 4:3 Pro Logic sets are due at about the same time; the 25DU73KD, 29DU73KD and 29DH73JD, cost £700 (for the 25-inch model), and £800 for the two 29-inch sets. Thomson have three new 16:9 TVs this year, the 32-inch 32VT68ND 100Hz DPL set is already in the shops for £1700; it will be joined in the Summer by the Dolby-equipped 28WS73KP  (£1000)  and the 46RG76J, a 46-inch rear projector, whose price has yet to be decided.


Watch out for some juicy VCRs in the next couple of months. The VPH6787 is a well specified NICAM machine costing £380, but the one we’re looking forward to getting our hands on is the VPH6790. It’s billed as  pan-European model, however, the feature we’re most interested in is NTSC recording. That, as far as we can recall will be a first on any domestic machine.


Ferguson, who are owned by Thomson, are also adding to their range. Highlights include three new attractively-priced Dolby TVs. The T6373SJD, T7073SJD and M8473NJD have 25, 28 and 33-inch screens and will go on sale in the early Summer for £680, £780 and £1300. They will have just one new NICAM VCR this year, and that’s the FV207HV, priced at £380.

Thomson Multimedia, telephone 0181-344 4444



In August Samsung will be adding two new NICAM TVs to their already extensive television range. The 25 and 28-inch sets will feature a range of five preset audio and video modes, fastext and invar mask picture tubes. Prices for the CI623C and CI703C have still to be decided but in keeping with tradition they should be very competitive.


They’re not being so coy about their latest VCRs, camcorders and TV/VCR combis, due out in May. They include two mono and two NICAM video recorders, the stereo models are the SV-603B and SV-605B that will sell for just £250 and £280. They have four camcorders: there’s two 8mm machines, the VP-A12 and VP -A17, cost £430 and £550. The two Hi8 models are the VP-A50 (£600) and VP-A55; the latter has a 64x digital zoom, stereo sound and an image stabiliser, for the remarkably low price of £650. Lastly there are three televideos: the 14-inch model, finished in white is TVP-3360i, priced at £340; a 20-inch set with twin tuner (TVP-3350iS) costs £380 and the 21-inch TVP-5350iST -- the largest model in the UK -- has a suggested selling price of £500.

Samsung UK Ltd., telephone 0181-391 0168



No, this has nothing to do with Mitsubishi’s automotive division, it’s their latest VCR chassis, that will makes its first appearance on the HS-761 VB this Summer. This is a well-specified mid-range NICAM machine, that will replace the very successful HS-561. There’s a bunch of new features, including insert edit and audio dub, manual recording level control and a peak-level display. Improvements have been made to their tape tuning, rental mode and manual picture control systems. There’s plenty of old favourites too, like front AV sockets, auto speed record, Just Track 4 heads, twin digital auto tracking and some of the slickest trick frame facilities in the business.


We also have details of two brand new NICAM TVs. They’re the 21-inch C21T7B and 25-inch C25T7B. Mitsubishi have stuck to a tried and tested formula; both have auto tuning systems, auto sub-titling, fastext and 16:9 display switching. New for 97 is the ‘Hotel’ mode, that provides a tuning lock and volume limiter, there’s also a reservation timer, that can be set to switch the TV to any channel, in a 24 period. They come with colour-coded remotes, that also control Mitsubishi VCRs, twin SCARTs and auto power off. You can get more details from their regular customer information line, or their useful web site at: www.meuk.mee.com/consumer

Mitsubishi UK, telephone (01707) 26100



LG Electronics are the new face of Korean multinational Lucky Goldstar, whose name we’re not supposed to mention any more, so we won’t. The brand was officially launched at the Birmingham trade Show, along with several dozen new products for the coming season. Sadly we have no room for the microwave ovens, bread makers and fax machines, so we’ll confine ourselves to the highlights of their AV ranges. There’s four new NICAM TVs  with 21, 25 and 28-inch screens (CF-21A50F, CF25A50F, CF-23A64DF and CF-28A50F), and one 28-inch Pro Logic model (CF-28A64DF. Two new widescreen models are in the pipeline for the Summer, they’re the WF-28A12PT, that has a 28-inch screen, and the WF-32A14T, with a 32-inch display. NTSC replay, PIP and unified remotes are common to both, the 32 incher also has a built-in sub-woofer. LG have two new televideos, the Ki-14V38 has a 14-inch screen, and the KI-20V38 is a 20-inch design. Both have NTSC replay and 2-head, twin speed mono VCR decks. Five of LG’s six new VCRs have mono sound systems, the exception is the PW904i, that features auto set-up, VideoPlus+ with PDC, a child lock and a self-diagnostic system, that apparently tells you if it packs up, or a cable has become unplugged .

LG Electronics UK Ltd., (01754) 500400



You won’t find Crown brand products mentioned very often in HE, not that there’s anything wrong with them, we just haven’t any room to spare for bedside radio alarms and budget hi-fi systems, but that may be about to change. Their new model range for 97 include several interesting-looking TVs, that hopefully we’ll get around to reviewing in the coming months. There’s four NICAM sets and one widescreen model. The smallest NICAM is the CRP2196NT; it has a 21-inch screen, teletext and a sleep timer, for just £280. There are two 28-inchers; the CRV72NT for £430, and the slightly more advanced CF9528NFT at £500, which has fastext, twin SCARTs and an on-screen display. Their largest NICAM set is the 33-inch CF9633NFT, which costs £950, and comes with 2 remote handsets. The CCT3216 is Crown’s first widescreen set, it’s due here in June and will cost £1200. Top features are a digital chassis, NICAM sound, on-screen displays and a matching cabinet with a glass door.

Crown Corporation UK Ltd., (01977) 604111.



Digital convergence is the recurrent themes in Sony’s wide-ranging product line-up, previewed recently at their Weybridge HQ. The most important new arrival, as far as the home cinema market is concerned, is the eagerly-awaited SDP-EP9ES. It’s their first Dolby Digital, AC-3 decoder, due out towards the end of the Summer. The AC-3 thunder was almost stolen by a new MiniDisc player. The MZ-E30 is now the world’s smallest MD Walkman, you have to see it in the flesh to realise just how tiny it is, it’s only a little larger than an MD case and it weighs just 76 grams; it goes on sale anytime now for £280.


Sony are introducing two new TV ranges. The K1 series are NICAM sets, with 100 Hz displays, they will be available in 25 and 29-inch screen sizes. The F3 series have Dolby Pro Logic sound systems, two models have been announced so far, the KV25F3 and KV-29F3, also with 25 and 29-inch Trinitron tubes. Sony have made a few tweaks to their VCR range but by far the most interesting newcomer is the SLV-T2000, dual VHS/Hi 8 deck. Before you ask why, it’s going to have home movie makers drooling, it takes all of the effort out of copying and editing camcorder tapes. It stacks up quite well in the home cinema department too, with NICAM, Video Plus+ and a full set of tape tuning facilities. It also goes on sale this month, for a shade under £900.


Just time for a quick mention for the DSC-F1 digital still camera. It can record 108 images on a 4 megabyte flash memory card, there’s a real-time LCD viewfinder on the back, and it has a built-in flash. Images can be downloaded onto a PC or displayed on a TV. It is just about to go on sale, with a suggested selling price of £400.

Sony UK Ltd., telephone 0181-784 1144



Since their separation from Philips earlier this year Grundig clearly hope they’re moving on to bigger and better things, like their monster Planatron 42-inch flat screen plasma TV. First the bad news, it will be selling for around £8000, but if its any consolation, it does have Dolby Pro-Logic sound, a VGA PC display input and it comes with a stand... The good news is that the picture looks great over a wide range of viewing angles, you can hang it on your wall, and we want one! The rest of their new large-screen TVs are a little more affordable. There’s a pair of 25 and 29-inch multi-system NICAM models; the ST63-800/9 and ST70-800/9 (£530 and £600 respectively) operate on 9 different TV standards. 100Hz displays, multi-system operation and a computer VGA input are featured on two new 29 and 37-inch NICAM TVs, costing £1000 and £27000. The M72-410/9 and M95-410/9 are due to reach dealers this month. They also have one 28-inch Pro Logic model; the ST70-755/9DPL has a multi-system tuner, fastext and comes with a console and rear channel speakers for the remarkably low price of just £700. Grundig’s VCR range has two new additions, a sub £200 mono model (GV-6001) and the GV-6401 NICAM machine costing just under £300.

Grundig International, telephone (01788) 577155.



Details of the first of Panasonic’s new season VCRs have just crossed the desk. It’s the NV-HD620, which they’re claiming eliminates Channel 5 clashes by searching out a free channel for its RF output. It’s a well-featured NICAM machine with a VideoPlus+ timer, auto set-up with clock check, a multi-brand TV remote and NexTViewLink. This is their name for the ‘Project 50’ bus and electronic programme guide, that will allow a growing number of TVs VCRs and other AV appliances to communicate with one another, via a SCART AV link. It enables features like one-button record of the channel you’re watching on the TV, automatic 16:9 display switching and TV tuner downloading. It’s already featured on some Philips products, they call their system EasyLink. But back to the HD620; rounding off the feature list there’s noise cancellation, tape tuning and super steady trick play. The price is a gnats under £380 and it’s in the shops this month.

Panasonic UK Ltd., (0990) 357357. http://www.panasonic.co.uk



As you would expect Philips are awash with new TVs and VCRs for the coming year, but we suspect one of their lower profile products could make it big-time. It’s the Velo pocket-size PC, that uses the new Microsoft CE operating system. It looks and works just like Windows 95, and if you plug it into your digital mobile phone, you can surf the net, send and receive e-mail and faxes. It’s very small, cute and on sale soon for £600. We return now to our normal programme...


Philips have got bucket-loads of new high-end TVs, including three sapele (sa-pee-lee) wood-cased jobbies. The first one is the top-of-the-line 100Hz 29PT8413C (£1400) with DPL sound. The new Mid 2.2 digital chassis has nexTView electronic programme guide (EPG) facilities and control links built-in, which may or may not prove useful later in the year. There’s also two 50Hz sets in the Classicline range, they’re the 25PT6322C and 29PT6773C; both models have ‘incredible sound’ systems, NICAM and auto-tuning.


Upgrading to Dolby Pro Logic is about to get a whole lot easier with the introduction of the MX900PUK. It’s a chunky centre-channel speaker, with a built-in DPL decoder and rear channel amplifier. Just plug it into the line audio output of a TV VCR or satellite tuner and you’re in business. It comes with a pair of rear channel speakers, and it’s all yours for just £230. Staying with DPL solutions, the award winning FW672P mini system has been upgraded with an RDS tuner; the basic spec and price (£500) are unchanged but the model number is now FW790P. Philips have added an active sub-woofer to their home cinema speaker range. The FB201SUB has a 50 watt output, and a £150 price tag. There’s also a new cylindrical shaped front and rear speaker package (FB350) for £250 and a budget DPL AV tuner-amp (FR752) with RDS.


Good news on the VCR front. The smart-looking VR-969 S-VHS deck we told you about last year -- the one with the analogue clock set into the front panel -- is finally expected to arrive this month. Look out for a review soon. It will be joined by a new cheapie mono VCR (VR-175, £200), and two NICAM decks in the Summer. The VR-765 and VR-766 are competitively priced (£300 and £379), with a good range of convenience features. The 676 looks like it could be a useful home cinema machine, with NTSC replay and 16:9 detection and satellite loop-through.

Philips Consumer Electronics, telephone 0181-689 4444



Nokia have finally got around to fitting their highly successful SAT1800S satellite receiver with an internal antenna positioner. The SAT1800 SatScan has a 31 location memory and can control dishes up to 1.2 metres in diameter. The rest of the SAT 1800 features remain more or less the same, and that includes the innovative VideoPlus+ timer and dish switching system. The price looks good too, with the receiver selling on its own for just £280; a complete system, with 80cm dish and motor mount comes to just £530


Digital satellite is also high on Nokia’s agenda, and they’re about to launch the first ‘digital terminal’ satellite receiver in the UK. The Mediamaster DVB 9200S  (£530) can receive unencrypted broadcasts from several satellites now beaming programmes (mostly foreign language) into the UK. Clearly it’s not a mass-market product, but Nokia are expecting a lot of interest from ethnic communities living in the UK, and it’s providing them with valuable experience for forthcoming  UK DVB systems. You can find out more about this, and Nokia’s new range of PC monitors from their newly-established web site at: http://www.nokia.com. Information about free to air digital TV channels can be found on: http://www.satcodx.com.

Nokia Multimedia Network Terminals, telephone (01793) 556032



Pace are about to launch a new 200-channel analogue Astra receiver with a built-in Videocrypt decoder. Nothing unusual about that, except that the MSS331-G DMX is fitted with a DMX decoder. DMX or Digital Musical Express, as you will doubtless recall, is a CD quality, subscription radio service, broadcasting around 80 channels of themed, DJ-less music around the clock, from an Astra satellite. The new Pace receiver also displays a range of on-screen data, relating to the title, track and artist being played, CD number and composer information. Please form an orderly queue...

Pace Micro Technology, telephone (01274) 532000



With at least half an eye on the future of AV, where Dolby Digital 5.1 multi channel  surround sound are expected to figure prominently, JBL have come up with two new AV speaker packages, designed to provide maximum performance from wall-mounted positions. Control 42 features 2-way CM42, shielded satellite speakers and Sub6, an active 6.5-inch 60 watt sub-woofer. The package is priced at just under £500. Control 52 includes the larger CM52 satellites and a Sub10 100 watt active sub-woofer, for £700.

Gamepath Ltd,. telephone (XXXX)



Mediamatics have begun shipping their DVDExpress software package, that will enable MMX equipped Pentium PCs to replay full motion video from DVD discs. It’s a fully-featured software-based MPEG-1,2/AC-3 audio-video decoder  that can deliver smooth, ‘consumer-quality’ video playback on suitable PCs.  Computer based DVD applications are likely to be one of the driving forces behind the format in the early days; this powerful package seamlessly integrates DVD multimedia with present and future developments in home entertainment. In a few years time you’ll probably wonder how we ever managed to live without it...

Mediamatics Inc., 510-668-4850, http://www.mediamatics.com



Miro have just announced a low-cost TV tuner and capture card for PCs.  At the click of a mouse button miroMedia PCTV can display a TV channel on your monitor screen, grab a still or even a short clip, which can be incorporated into documents and presentations. The retail price will be £92 (inc. VAT).

Miro Computer Products, telephone (01494) 510250


Epos Acoustics have made available a new finish for their ES22 speakers. Dark cherry has already proved very popular on other Epos models, and it brings the ES22 into line with the rest of the range. The price is unchanged at £1185

Epos Acoustics, telephone (01705) 407722


If you’re having trouble seeing your PC or laptop display then for just £7495 (ex VAT) you could get a In Focus multimedia projector. It’s claimed to be the lightest and brightest SVGA compliant video projector on the market, capable of throwing up an image up to 160 inches across.

In Focus UK, telephone 0181-213 2100


Mordaunt-Short are celebrating their 30th birthday with a special edition speaker. The MS10i Pearl is an upgrade of the existing MS10i with a bi-wireable, 1st order, hardwire crossover, that results in less colouration. Lower cabinet tuning extends low-frequency coverage and a new injection-moulded cone gives a smoother, more natural roll-off. Priced at £150 they’re out now and available in black ash and rosewood finishes.

Mordaunt Short Ltd., (01705) 407722


Denon have introduced a new Dolby Pro Logic processor to partner their D-77 and D-99 mini systems, and other packages with spare tape loop or line inputs. The AVC-99 contains centre and rear channel amps, rated at 30 watts (centre) and 2 x 15 watts. It’s just reached the shops, priced at £350.

Hayden Laboratories, telephone (01753) 888447


Cerwin Vega are about to launch the CT-330 3-way floor-standing tower speaker. It’s a bass-reflex design with a newly developed, gas-flowed rear port, designed to avoid ‘chuffing’. Power handling is in the order of 100 watts continuous, sensitivity is quoted at 91dB, bass response is down to 35Hz, and the price is expected to be £300.

Cerwin Vega, telephone (01423) 359054


If your notebook PC’s audio sounds like it’s coming from a half empty baked bean tin, then Aiwa’s new mobile multimedia speakers could be just what you’re looking for. Priced at just £20 the SC-C37s are designed to be easy to pack away. They have a 2-watt (RMS) output and are powered by 4 AA sized batteries, that last for up to 30 hours.

Aiwa UK Ltd., 0181-897 7000



Ó R. Maybury 1997 2803







[Home][Software][Archive][Top Tips][Glossary][Other Stuff]

Copyright (c) 2005 Rick Maybury Ltd.