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Philips Likes Results Of Brand Push

Philips used its sponsorship of the recent LPGA/Harvey Penick invitational in Austin, Texas, to celebrate major successes for its U.S. brand-awareness campaign.

John Losier, president of Philips Electronics North America, reported that "aided awareness of the Philips brand shot up from 39% to 56% in the first four months of the brand advertising campaign begun last year." That effort has continued in 1999 with major national television spots including an ad in the Super Bowl.

Losier said the company continues to build its technological base with numerous strategic alliances and acquisitions. Most recently Philips announced signing a letter of intent with LG Electronics of Korea to acquire 50% share in LG LCD, which it calls the largest active-matrix LCD manufacturer in the world.

On other fronts, Philips recently acquired VLSI to increase its strength in IC chip development and ATL to build its presence in ultrasound medical imaging. Philips has also recently taken stakes in TiVo and Belltone for new consumer electronics technologies.

Robert Minkhorst, Philips Consumer Electronics North America president, said his company continues to stress the Philips brand name in key new product areas and that the moniker will appear on a new 13" stereo bedroom TV called Lumi, which ships in July at a $249 suggested retail price. The set offers a sophisticated styling design incorporating a built-in analog clock that automatically sets itself from PBS time-code signals.

The company's 64W" fully integrated HDTV is now widely available across the country at a $9,990 suggested retail price. It will be followed early next year with the company's first widescreen flat-faced direct-view digital and analog sets in the 30W" and 34W" screen sizes. Philips plans digital versions both with and without built-in ATSC decoding in early 2000.

Minkhorst said Philips is now offering TiVo receivers through direct distribution and still plans to bring an integrated TiVo and DirecTv tuner to market toward the end of the year.

Speaking on the recently announced plan for Philips to make and market an AOL TV terminal, Minkhorst said, "AOL TV will extend connected interactivity to enhance the television viewing experience by making facets of the AOL experience more accessible through television."

Philips continues to expand its venture with WebTV. The company showed a new mini WebTV classic terminal due out this summer. The unit, which was shown in prototype form, is less than half the size of the previous WebTV classic terminal, plus a built-in parallel printer port for a $99.95 street price.

In DVD, the Philips Magnavox DVD 865 will ship in August at $449 street price. The step-up player adds Dolby digital decoding, extra zooming functions, and virtual jog control.

For directed sales floors Philips is shipping two Philips-branded DVD players. The Philips DVD 940 will have all the features of the Philips Magnavox 825, plus virtual jog control and component video outputs. It ships in July at a $349 street price. The top-of-the-line model, Philips 950, ships in August at a $499 street price and adds digital decoding.

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