By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
LAS VEGAS — Toshiba will use International CES 2013 “to get back to what it always was — a quality technology brand,” said Scott Ramirez, TV product marketing VP.
The company will show both current and new display technologies slated to reach the U.S. market this year, including smarter smart TVs, and the company’s first family of 4K Ultra HD TV models.
Ramirez said Toshiba will be ready to feed some of the hottest trends this year, such as demand for larger flat-panel screen sizes, interconnectivity between TVs and mobile handheld devices,
Ramirez noted that 50-inch and larger TV sales have been growing, “and we don’t see that stopping.” In 2013, Toshiba will move from big-screen sales of primarily 50 inches to 50-, 58-, 65- and 84-inch large screen sizes.
Company engineers also worked diligently to create a product family look, similar to Apple’s philosophy, that will create more of a design identity for Toshiba TVs and related products, including Blu-ray players, laptops, etc. this year, he added.
Although Toshiba has had smart-TV features in its products in the past, this year’s step-up TV models will leverage Cloud technology — called Cloud TV — using Toshiba servers. This will provide a host of expanded capabilities, including the upgrading of services, interfaces and features in the TVs over time.
The sets will continue to offer open Internet browsing in addition to access to pre-selected service partners, and will encourage “a different level of social interaction” using messaging from one TV, another TV, PC or mobile device running a companion app.
This can be used to send messages from a remote smartphone to the TV screen or to review a family calendar that indicates what event each member is attending at any given moment.
“With our Cloud TV, we’re trying to make the TV more of a hub that brings not only content together, but people together,” Ramirez said.
Select 2013 Toshiba TVs will also include WiDi and Miracast functionality — allowing peer-to-peer direct connections between the TV and other devices — and Control TV, which, among other things, allows playing games on a different level. As an example, connected game players use apps on their mobile devices to play a card game. The players see their individual hands on their mobile screens, while the main TV screen shows a public view of the card table and a dealer taking discards and dispensing pickup cards.
Ramirez said Toshiba is a member of the new Smart TV Alliance — which right now also includes LG, Philips and Panasonic. The association is expected to give each company access to “triple A” quality content and apps to compete with larger market share brands. As an example, the company will also deliver in sets this year on-demand, real-time video news reports streamed from the Internet to the big screen.
For Toshiba’s first venture in to Ultra High-Definition TV (a.k.a. 4K), Toshiba has developed a new Cevo 4K hex-core processor to maximize picture processing and 4K up-conversion, Ramirez said.
“In Ultra HD, multiple companies will be sharing the same panels, so the real difference in quality will come from the processing,” Ramirez said.
In 2013, Toshiba will market 58-, 65-, and 84-inch Ultra High Definition LED edge-lit LCD TV screen sizes.
Toshiba will offer six LED LCD TV models series, including the L1350 L2300, L4300, L7300, L7350 and L9300. The L1350 series includes the 23-, 29- (720p), 32- (720p), 39- (1080p) and 50-inch (1080p) screen sizes and the L2300 series includes the 23- (720p), 32- (720p), 39- (1080p) and 50-inch (1080p) screen sizes.
The L4300 series includes the 32- (1080p), 39- (1080p), 50- (1080p) and 58-inch (1080p) screen sizes, and steps up with a C-Cubed picture processing engine and new Cloud TV connectivity package.
ClearScan 120Hz frame-rate processing will be included in all L1350-, L2300- and L4300-series models measuring 32 inches and larger.
The L7300 series includes the 50- (1080p), 58- (1080p) and 65-inch (1080p) screen sizes and moves to an ultra-slim (depth and bezel) design with ClearScan 240Hz frame-rate processing.
The L7350 series features the 58- and 65-inch screen sizes, each including the same features as the L7300 models, plus passive-glasses-based 3D capability.
Toshiba’s new flagship L9300 TV line will include its first Ultra High Definition models and will include the 58-, 65- and 84-inch screen sizes. Those models will all feature LED edge lighting with Cevo 4K picture processing and the features of the L7350 LED LCD TV models.
Ramirez said most of the 1080p level models will ship in January and February, and L9300 Ultra HD sets will ship in the summer. Pricing was not available at press time.
Toshiba will also bring smart TV to its Blu-ray Disc player line, featuring models with connective to the Cloud, and open browser capability. The assortment will include a basic 2D Blu-ray player, a 2D model with WiDi and Miracast connectivity, a 3D Blu-ray model with WiDi and Miracast, and an Ultra HD 4K 3D model with WiDi and Miracast.
Model numbers and pricing will be announced later.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.