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Electrograph Signs RevolutionHD Deal

10/25/2006 12:33:00 PM Eastern

Hauppauge, N.Y. — Electrograph Systems, a major player in the distribution of plasma and LCD TVs, will be the exclusive distributor of a line of flat panel displays which it says is chiefly intended for installer clients.

The brand, called RevolutionHD, was unveiled at a recent press conference in New York. It will feature both LCD and plasma displays. Electrograph’s president, Sam Taylor said the goal is to make this line “very affordable for installers,” and to provide a 25 percent profit margin for integrators who are being forced to compete with big box retailers who offer their own custom installation services and “force installers’ margins down.”

The RevolutionHD line will initially include 32W-, 37W-, 42W- and 46W-inch LCD displays and 42W- and 50W-inch plasma displays. It is being produced through a partnership with an unnamed Korean manufacturer who will likely remain so as Electrograph executives said they are obligated to honor a non-disclosure agreement.

The products are set for an initial launch in December. Taylor says pricing will not be available until closer to the launch date because Electrograph plans to monitor the expected price fluctuations in the market over the next couple of months and set its prices accordingly. The first spate of displays will feature 1,080i video processing, but Taylor says that “true 1,080p [can be expected] late in the first quarter of next year.”

All of the models are said to feature full HDMI/HDCP solutions. The native resolution on all LCD models and the two 50W-inch plasmas is 1366-by-768 pixels and both 42W-inch plasmas have a 1024-by-768 pixel native resolution.

All of the displays are fully integrated with NTSC and ATSC digital tuners with the exception of the 50W-inch plasma model DTS5025PM, which is a monitor-only model, although an outbound tuner is available.

Also, all of the displays feature input/output ports for the following: S-Video, component video, PC (analog RGB), DVI-I and HDMI with HDCP and RS-232C control.

Other features include split screen picture-in-picture, calibration controls that will allow the installer to tailor the picture to a specific lighting environment upon installation and most models offer portrait/landscape mounting.

The RevolutionHD line will be supported with a “swap-out” program for repairs which Taylor explained will allow installers to provide their customers with replacement televisions for use while their set is removed from the home for repairs.

The brand is a departure of sorts for the distributor because it is Electrograph’s first exclusive line of products that will not be under the Electrograph brand. Previous to the RevolutionHD launch, the company already carried a variety of own-branded products. Taylor said that despite an initial overlap period, the launch of the RevolutionHD brand would signal the eventual phasing out of Electrograph-branded displays.

Jeff Jerome, Electrograph’s director of product management told TWICE that while there are “many reasons” for launching the new brand, one of the main reasons was to develop a brand that would be more appealing to consumers both in name and look.

Jerome said that after Electrograph’s recent acquisitions of companies like ICG and ActiveLight, the company’s focus as a whole has evolved to concentrate more on consumer-appeal and the launch of the new brand reflects that evolution.

Taylor announced that Electrograph will be working to promote brand awareness for RevolutionHD with a marketing and advertising campaign that will include elements like a supporting Web site and national advertising.

Alan Mark Smith, Electrograph’s CEO, announced at the press conference that Electrograph is currently projecting revenues for the year between $600 million and $650 million.

He also made some predictions for the future of Electrograph and the future of the flat panel market as a whole. He said that the company has a goal to expand and eventually provide a robust line of consumer products and that it can be expected that Electrograph will make acquisitions in future months to help achieve that goal.

He also said that there are currently “too many plasma and LCD manufacturers” today and that we can likely look forward to consolidation in the future.

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