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Mitsubishi Climbs On TV-Web Bandwagon, Uses PowerPc


Mitsubishi Consumer Electronics America division said it will bring to market a large screen television that will allow viewers to access the World Wide Web from the same unit.

"DiamondWeb" is scheduled to hit stores as early as next summer, MCEA officials said, and will initially be made up of units with large screens up to 40 diagonal inches in size.

The DiamondWeb's all-in-one configuration means users will only need a single remote, along with not having to go through a complicated set-up process, officials said. Better graphics and sound, and the ability to mix video and graphics, will also be a part of DiamondWeb.

MCEA will incorporate Motorola's MPC801 PowerPC microprocessor, Microware Systems Corp.'s OS-9-based David system, and Java technology from Sun Microsystems into its DiamondWeb televisions.

Although today's announcement said DiamondWeb will be marketed as early as next summer, MCEA Manager David Broberg told Newsbytes that specific pricing and availability will be announced next March, when the new product line will be introduced to Mitsubishi dealers. He also said a press preview of the new products will be set up for sometime later this year.

MCEA is entering a market that not only contains other players, but is very diverse, Newsbytes notes. Zenith Electronics is planning its "NetVision" all-in-one interactive TV-Web appliance. Both Philips Consumer Electronics Co. (PCEC) and Sony Electronics are coming to market with add-on set-top boxes that will bring Web browsing to any TV. And Gateway 2000's Dimension PC/TV combines television viewing capability into a full-fledged Pentium-powered computer with a 31-inch (diagonal) monitor.

Broberg said MCEA is focusing on the all-in-one approach to bring the Web to TV because "MCEA is a big-screen company, and our knowledge revolves around the big-screen customer. We believe (our approach) is the most effective way to bring this capability as far as satisfying the ease-of-use requirement.

"Many of the other systems that have been announced revolve around a proprietary hardware/software solution -- in a sense, a 'closed system,'" Broberg said. "Our approach is based on an open-standards approach. The reference design and the circuit capability that adds the Web capacity to the television set is part of what we are developing to present as an open standard." He added that more announcements are expected in the coming weeks about MCEA's proposed standard.

MCEA is already working with Microware to develop a new open standard for television and network computing, called the network-centric television standard, officials said.

Broberg added that today's announcement should not be confused with one made about two weeks ago by MCEA's parent company, Mitsubishi Electric of Japan, regarding a TV-Web appliance that will be sold in the Japanese market.


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