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Home Theater, Rocket Scientists Required?

11/13/2008 07:00:00 PM

You know what they say: “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Or what I like to say: “Mother is necessary for invention.”
 

After several years of constructive criticism from my wife (the mother of invention — and of our two lovely daughters), I grew weary of her requests that our entertainment system be easier to use and be less dominating of our family room décor. She told me, “I want you to get rid of all these wires and all the stuff that goes with the TV. You work in this business — can’t you fix it?” I tried to convince her that our home-theater system was easy to use because of Mitsubishi’s technology called NetCommand. NetCommand allows you to control a plethora of CE gear via IR blasters and/or HDMI. But as good as NetCommand can be, even NASA rocket scientists would have trouble creating a simple system to control the thousands of A/V receivers, VCRs, DVD/Blu-ray players, DVRs, cable and satellite boxes that are available today and continue to grow year after year. Crestron and AMX do an amazing job of system control for very high-end entertainment systems — but simple they are not.

 

So if a sophisticated system control solution is not the answer to my wife’s “quest,” then what is?  At Mitsubishi we asked ourselves that one simple question: How would a TV brand be able to deliver a premium entertainment experience that is simple to use and eliminates all the clutter of traditional systems? From this basic premise, the Mitsubishi Immersive Sound LCD TV with integrated Sound Projector (iSP) was born.

 

Look mom, no wires! Mitsubishi has introduced the first-ever premium LCD flat-panel TV with built-in Dolby Digital 5.1 channel surround — no wires, no added speakers, no clutter — and only one remote. The Mitsubishi 46- and 52-inch ultra-thin frame LCD TVs with iSP deliver world-class video imagery with fully immersive, built-in surround sound audio — easily and instantly — right out of the box. Truly “one button home theater.”

 

The secret behind the Immersive Sound LCD is Mitsubishi’s innovative integrated Sound Projector (iSP). The iSP eliminates the need for separate audio components to provide a clutter-free home theater system. The iSP reproduces Dolby Digital 5.1-channel surround sound from a single speaker cabinet positioned below the TV screen. The iSP enclosure houses a 16-speaker array that creates a 5.1-channel sound field. Through the use of an advanced algorithm, the iSP delays the sound at varying intervals to each of the 16 speakers. As a result, the speaker array generates 5.1 distinct sound beams that are focused directly and indirectly to the listener. The subwoofer or LFE channel is also available as an output of the TV for easy connection to an external powered subwoofer.

 

One of the key features of the iSP is its simple graphical user interface. Out of the box, the iSP is set up to deliver optimal sound in a typical room setting. In a matter of minutes, the user can easily enter specific room dimensions as well as the location of the main listening/seating area. The iSP calculates the beam angles to provide the best sound for your total room environment.

 

Operation is even simpler! Just select stereo mode to hear all programs in stereo sound or select surround mode to hear all programs in Dolby Digital surround or Dolby Pro Logic surround. And for the ultimate in simplicity, the iSP LCD TV provides the option of using digital cable card to connect to premium cable channels without the need or hassle of a cable set-top box.

 

Let’s not forget video! Mitsubishi iSP LCD TVs offer top-of-the-line video performance as well. They feature Smooth120Hz Film Motion which provides for crisp, clear imaging in fast-moving scenes, as well as motion dejudder for film-originated content. They offer wide-color-gamut back lighting to produce the widest range of color reproduction available among today’s CCFL LCD TVs.

 

So what’s in it for the retailer? The iSP LCD TV is not only a great solution for consumers, but it is also a tremendous opportunity for the retailer. The iSP product provides the retailer with a flat-panel TV that is differentiated from all other LCD TVs on the market today. The iSP gives the value-added retailer something different to present to the consumer. The retailer, who takes the time to merchandise and demonstrate the iSP product on their floors, will differentiate themselves from the online and discount retailers who are selling a box at a price. To that end, Mitsubishi offers a range of POP solutions for the retailer from product signage, to one-button demo solutions to more easily present iSP to their customers.

 

With commoditization in the flat panel category … comes margin pressure. The iSP is a value-add product that easily enables the salesperson to attach a subwoofer and start a basket of additional components or accessories that can raise the profitability for the retailer, and the ultimate satisfaction of their customer. 

Lastly, the iSP provides the salesperson an easy way to introduce audio to their customer. And that may lead to the sale of more audio components including perhaps a full-blown home theater system. Let’s face it, audio attachment is key to retailer profitability but less than 10 percent of TVs sold today get purchased with a home-theater system. The iSP raises the audio attachment rate to significantly higher levels for the retailer, which is positive for both retailer and consumer.

Frank DeMarting is Vice President of Marketing for Mitsubishi Digital Electronics, Inc.

 

 

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