CES - Philips improves technology, design in new LCD TVs

Philips on Sunday announced LCD TVs with updated designs and improved technologies.

Philips Consumer Electronics has thrown its full support behind the Blu-ray high-definition DVD format, adding a new Blu-ray DVD player and declaring the format to be the future of high-definition DVD storage.

The BDP7200 DVD comes at a time when demand for movies on Blu-ray discs are growing, said Stewart Muller, senior vice president of Philips' consumer lifestyle division.

With major studios starting to put their weight behind Blu-ray, and Blockbuster offering only Blu-ray DVDs for rental, the format is in a position to take over the market for high-definition DVD storage, Muller said. Studios deliver movies every day and that should help breed more Blu-ray hardware, Muller said.

"The future is nothing but Blu," Muller said.

Blu-ray recently has witnessed a spate of victories in its fight with the rival HD DVD format to gain supremacy as the high-definition disc format for the movie, gaming and music industries. The move away from HD DVD makes Philips the latest company to jump on the Blu-ray bandwagon. Warner Bros., which until recently released DVDs on both of the rival formats, last week dropped its support for HD DVD to exclusively back Blu-ray.

Both movie studios and consumer electronic companies have been locked in a battle over the formats, with Sony, Panasonic and Samsung supporting Blu-ray, and Toshiba, Microsoft and Intel supporting HD DVD.

The Blu-ray Disc BDP7200 player includes technology called BD-Java, which allows users to take advantage of the interactive features on a disc when a movie is playing, including enabling pop-up menus, director's commentary and bonus material.

The player plays images at full HD resolution of 1080p and supports HDMI to receive high-definition audio and video. A remote control included with the disc player uses one button to control the connected television and audio-visual components, Philips said in a release.

The Blu-ray Disc player will be available for US$349 from April this year.

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