By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Drowning consumers in light and sound to create a fully "immersive" home entertainment experience will be the hallmark of Philips' 2007 push, company executives said at a press conference at International CES.
The company is focused on "relevant innovation," emphasizing products that reach "beyond technology" to blend style with function, said Lucas Covers, chief marketing officer. The company will offer new technology — such as a wireless HDMI connector, a new gaming system and a new HD processing engine — as well as expand its commitment to accessories and VoIP telephony in 2007, according to Stewart Muller, president. "We aim to be a top player in the accessories market," Muller said.
To that end, Philips announced what Muller hailed as the world's first wireless HDMI system, a two-piece transmitter and receiver capable of transmitting 1,080p signals losslessly. The system, model SWW1800, operates in the ultrawideband range, eliminating interference from other wireless technologies including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cordless phones, microwaves and cellphones. The wireless HDMI can be placed anywhere within a 25 foot range — in an entertainment center, in a closet, on the other side of the room — without signal loss or degradation, Philips said.
Additional product features include an extremely low latency during processing and automatic pairing with existing wireless security with no set up needed. The cable also is compatible with high-bandwidth digital content protection to eliminate the possibility of intercepting digital data midstream between sources to the display.
It will be available in the third quarter with a suggested retail of $299 to $399. Philips co-developed the product with an unnamed partner.
The company also unveiled its amBX gaming peripherals which, when paired with amBX-enabled games, will create an immersive experience where explosions on screen rattle bones, wind ruffles hair and lights flash to emphasize action.
The system includes a pair of left and right satellite lights, a pair of left and right satellite 2.1-speaker lights and subwoofer, a pair of desk fans, a "wrist rumbler" and a directional wall washer light and controller unit. The system will react to the context of a game — shifting colors, fans, sound and vibration in response to game conditions.
The peripherals will be available in the first quarter in four SKUs: a starter kit, for a suggested $199, includes a directional wall washer light, controller unit and satellite lights; a $299 Pro-Gamer Kit will add satellite 2.1 speaker lights and a subwoofer; a $99 Extension Kit will offer a set of desk fans and wrist rumbler; and a premium kit, for a suggested $399, will ship with all the components. There are several titles currently available for use with the system, with more to be announced in the coming weeks, the company said.
Covers also reiterated Philips commitment to the Blu-ray Disc standard, noting that the company did not believe in a "dual deck" solution that combines HD DVD and Blu-ray, saying it would only add cost and complexity for consumers.
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