By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Monster used its "30th anniversary" press conference at International CES to announce strategic partnerships with Digeo, Gennum and Hewlett-Packard, as well as line extensions to its cable, power and headphone lines.
Head monster Noel Lee was joined by Carlos Montalvo, HP's product experience marketing VP, to announce a line of co-branded computer and power cables. The HP Monster line will be sold through consumer and PC retail channels, such as office superstores, that Monster has not traditionally targeted.
Monster has also inked a deal with semiconductor solutions supplier Gennum to solve the problem of signal denigration over long HDMI cable runs. The new Monster cables with Gennum technology will support signal integrity up to 21Gbps at a distance of up to 75 feet, according to Gennum senior VP/GM Martin Rofheart, who joined Lee onstage.
Also joining Lee was Digeo CEO Greg Gudorf, who announced future availability of Monster's iTV PowerCenter, which will integrate Digeo's Moxie interface to "turn any TV into an IP network TV." Gudorf called it "the first cable TV integrated interface for digital media." No product details were revealed besides a target launch date in the April to June range.
Among product debuts, Lee announced Monster's fastest-rated HDMI cable, known as its "Hyper-Speed" cable.
The M2000 is Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) certified and engineered for ISF calibration capable of speeds greater than 21Gbps for displays with up to 480Hz refresh rates and 16-bit color depth sources, Monster said. It retails for $200 to $1,800 depending on cable length. It will be available in the first quarter.
Also new is an entry-level line of Monster HDMI cables called HDMI Basic, packaged in a plain cardboard box at a price point starting at $39.
In the company's Digital Life line, Monster is extending the speed-rating system used on its HDMI cable packaging to include Ethernet and USB cables as well as the company's first foray into DisplayPort cables.
Entering a new category, Monster introduced its HTUPS 3700 home-theater uninterruptible power supply, engineered to maintain constant power to a home-theater system, even during power outages, while also ensuring that the voltage received by each component in the system never exceeds or falls below safe levels, the company said. It features a modular design that allows the addition of battery modules when additional components are added to the system. Dubbed Countdown UPS, the unit counts down the battery life left.
Monster also extended its line of GreenPower PowerCenters, designed to help home-entertainment enthusiasts save energy and money "while also helping limit any potential environment impact," it said. Four new home-theater models range from $99.95 to $349. They will ship the first quarter of this year.
Monster also announced a new in-ear version of the company's Beats by Dr. Dre headphones. Featuring a flat tangle-free cord, the in-ear Beats will debut in February at a suggested retail of $149.
As usual, Lee injected a little celebrity factor into the press event, bringing hip-hop star Ludacris to the stage to announce that Monster Music will release a 7.1-channel high-definition surround Blu-ray Disc version of the artist's forthcoming album, "Theater Of The Mind."
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