ORLANDO, FLA. -Harry Elias, JVC America chief operating officer, used the company's annual dealer expo to put his company and the world on notice at the same time: "JVC will not participate in the recession."
Elias' pronouncement under-scored his credo that "attitude is everything," a formula that has helped the company achieve double-digit sales growth last year and is expected to help achieve another 10 percent growth in 2001, according to JVC America president Katshuhiko Hattori.
JVC believes it has the inventory-control systems and the right product lineup to carry it off.
"As an industry we need to be careful as we grow our business," Elias said. "Today, more and more planning is necessary not only by the manufacturer but by the retailer as well. We have to be much more focused on the type of product we introduce."
JVC unveiled a host of new digital technologies and product breakthroughs that are intended, along with more extensive brand promotion and advertising support, to "help keep our dealers healthy" through the challenges of a potentially difficult economy, Elias said.
This year the company is adding an expanded line of flat-screen I' Art direct-view televisions and has just started shipping its previously introduced D'ahlia Digital Light Amplification-based rear-screen HDTV monitor.
The I'Art analog flat-screen direct-view line will be split into two feature package classifications designed to compete directly against Sony's Wega lineup in different dealer classes.
The flat-screen lineup is split between the 702 and 802 segments. The first includes one set of component A/V inputs, S-video input and three-line digital comb filter. The 802 adds dual-tuner picture-in-picture function, two sets of component video inputs, Invar shadow masks, BBE sound enhancement and JVC's "Digital 4 Mega 10 BIT 3d Y/C comb filter," which is said to further reduce dot crawl and other picture impurities resulting from interlaced sources.
The company will offer I'Art screen sizes of 15, 20 and 24 inches, and in larger tubes, two 27-inch models, two 32-inch models and three 36-inch models. All feature 4:3 aspect ratios.
The 27-inch AV-27F802 ($899.95 suggested retail) is available now, with the others to follow in the spring and summer.
Additionally, JVC plans to offer a 34-inch widescreen I'Art HDTV monitor in October, at a price to be announced. Other I'Art products include a 20-inch DVD combo unit due in May and a 20-inch TV/VCR combo.
In more conventional curved-tube sets, JVC has added the same silver cabinet cosmetics used in the I'Art series as an option to the standard black look in its step-up D-series line. These models add three-line digital comb filters and DVD controls on all remotes. The series lists sizes of 27, 32 and 36 inches, and for the first time, a 20-inch unit was included in the step-up classification.
The curved-tube sets are due to ship this spring. The D-series assortment is divided between the 302 and 502 feature package segments, with 302 models offering component video input and S-video inputs, while the 502s add two S-video inputs and dual-tuner picture-in-picture function.
Among the video highlights are two dual-format video recorders. The HM-HDS1 carries a $1,899 suggested retail price and features a built-in hard drive to simplify the process of home video editing, and the HR-DVS2 ($1,699) offers a dual-well miniDVC to S-VHS-ET mechanism.
The company also showed a full line of VCRs, including an expanded assortment of S-VHS-ET decks and a unique vertically styled VCR, the HR-FS1 ($299), which is designed for tight cabinet spaces.
In camcorders, JVC introduced its new Night Alive feature in select step-up digital and analog models. The infrared-based system enables full-color recording in low-light situations and is said to work regardless of distance from the subject.
JVC focused on both its VHS-C and S-VHS-C analog models and digital miniDVC models. The VHS-C format will be offered in two analog models this year, while S-VHS-C comes in three models. The miniDVC designs include five horizontally crafted units and six vertically designed units.
The highlight of the new digital models is what the company calls "the new smallest and lightest miniDVC camcorder in the world." The "micro Pocket DV" camcorder (GR-DVP3) will carry a $1,699 suggested retail when it ships in April.
The flagship Pro series miniDVC model is the horizontally styled DualCam GR-DV2000 ($2,199.95). It offers 520 x 480 video resolution from its three CCD imagers, plus 1.92-megapixel still resolution. Still images are captured to a removable flash memory Multimedia Card or SD-format cards via a built-in storage drive.
In DVD, the company announced an assortment of new progressive-scan models, including the SX-S65GD ($299) that features CD-R/RW and MP3 compatibility, and the SV-SA75GD, which adds DVD-Audio compatibility ($349.95, June). Also shown but not priced was the SX-F85GD seven-disc changer with progressive-scan and DVD-Audio. It is expected in the summer.
The flagship of the DVD-Audio/ Video players is the SV-D9000 with Extended K2 processing, progressive-scan video, and a zero vibration/interference chassis design at a $5,000 suggested retail price.
The entry-level DVD player SX-S45GD will sell for $249 in March.
In audio, JVC introduced a CD-R/RW deck that includes a three-disc CD changer and an extensive line of portable boomboxes, including the RS-WP1 "Backpack" model ($220) that was shown at CES.
JVC unveiled a three-disc CD changer with a built-in CD-R/RW recorder (XL-R5010BK), which it plans to ship in March at a $550 suggested retail price. Highlighting a line of executive shelf systems was the FS-SD1000, which packages cylindrical pole-shaped satellite speakers and a 60-watt powered subwoofer into a $500 price point. It's set to ship in May.
Higher-end components were highlighted by the RX-DP10VBK ($1,670), a THX Ultra certified receiver with THX Surround EX. It will produce 7.1 channels with 120 watts x 7 power and multiroom/multisource distribution capability.
For sheer concussion, JVC unveiled two G-Max Giga-Tube shelf systems featuring a labyrinth pipe system designed to accentuate lower bass frequencies. The 460-watt MX-GT90 will carry a $450 suggested retail price, while the 350-watt MX-GT80 will sell for $330.
Highlighting a new mobile audio lineup was JVC's new Digifine 2.1 CD-receiver line. Models in the line feature sleek ergonomics, up to 200 watts of power, and compatibility with MP3 and CD-R/RW discs.