In one of the most unusual product combinations, Epson has rolled out a big-screen LCD projection TV with a built-in colour photo printer.
Epson’s Livingstation HDTV LCD projection televisions are the company’s first forays into the world of big-screen TVs.
The 47-inch Epson Livingstation LS47P1 will carry an estimated retail price of $US3499 and the 57-inch Livingstation LS57P1, $US3999. Both are scheduled to ship in the US in March but will not be available in Australia for 12 months.
According to an Epson Australia spokesperson, there is a huge market for rear projection TV in the US, while in Australia and Europe consumers currently show a preference for plasma and projectors.
Epson, best known for its printers, apparently couldn’t resist including built-in dye-sublimation photo printers in the two TVs, which can produce 4x6-inch borderless prints. Both TVs also include a CD-R/RW drive and slots for popular memory cards, including SD, MMC, Memory Stick, CompactFlash, and SmartMedia.
The TVs have another intriguing feature: a Freeze Image capability that lets users freeze video, live TV, or other digital images and then print them from the built-in printer.
Both televisions offer 1280 x 720 native resolution, a 16:9 native aspect ratio, and 800:1 contrast ratios. They come equipped with two tuners for side-by-side split screens, and claim a 130-degree horizontal viewing angle and 49-degree vertical viewing angle. Both screens have built-in stereo speakers.
Epson clearly thinks potential buyers will be attracted by the ability to view, print and archive their digital photos in the living room. The TV-printer combo devices support Epson’s proprietary Photo On Demand capability, so users can do all of these activities with a remote control.
The company claims its Photo On Demand technology is a first, because it allows people to view, print, and store their digital photos directly from the TV without the need for a PC.
Epson said the Livingstation products would support numerous additional devices, including DVI-based set-top boxes, progressive-scan DVD players, HDTV tuners, camcorders, video games, and even PCs. Its picture-on-picture feature gives viewers options for viewing their favourite programs, while a channel-zapping feature enables them to see seven smaller windows simultaneously to explore many programs as still pictures.