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Philips Narrows Focus To LCD TV In '08

1/07/2008 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Philips has narrowed its North American TV focus this year, after dropping plasma, CRT and rear-projection categories to concentrate exclusively on LCD TVs.

"We are an LCD company," stated Stewart Muller, Philips Consumer Electronics North America connected displays president. "The core of our line is 1080p, which is really resonating with the consumer. People get it, and it is time to reach that critical mass of knowledge. The consumer wants LCD and that is where our strengths are — our picture engine is designed around making images that really pop."

The company's direction for 2008 will place greater focus on design, while improving picture performance through a proliferation of 1080p resolution; 120Hz frame rate processing; and a refined picture engine that boosts contrast and black levels, and enhances color depth.

At the show, Philips will unveil what it calls a new "design signature for consumer electronics products." The iconic look the company hopes to create will eventually permeate all of Philips' products, from TV to the company's AmbiSound One Bar speaker system.

The look, which is described as a "sophisticated European design," features a slim black bezel with beveled edges.

Philips has also refined its product model nomenclature to make it easier for retailers and consumers to understand, Muller said. Going forward the company will have a 3000 series, a 5000 series and a 7000 series.

All models will ship at least a month earlier than in the past, with Philips bumping up delivery dates to March or April for most models. Pricing was not available as this went to press.

The Philips 3000 series, which targets mass-market discounters, will include the 19-, 22-, 32-, 42-, 47- and 52-inch screen sizes.

Muller said the Philips brand will have a special warehouse club product series, which doesn't have a special series number designation.

The 5000 series, which targets and A/V specialty and CE retail channels with selling floors, represents the core portion of the line, mixing both 720p and 1080p models. Models include Philips PixelPlus3HD picture engine, and includes the 32-, 42-, 47- and 52-inch screen sizes. The 52-inch models will ship in May. Philips will designate select models in the series to fall under its minimum advertised price (MAP) policy.

The 7000 series, which also targets A/V specialty stores and accounts with CE selling floors, will include the 42-, 47-, 52- and 57-inch screen sizes. The line will have a strict MAP policy.

All 7000 Series models offer 1080p resolution, with many including 120Hz frame rates, four HDMI outputs, a new PerfectPixelHD picture engine and a mix of AmbiLight and non-AmbiLight models in all screen sizes. The 7400 models are non-AmbiLight while 7600 models are AmbiLights.

AmbiLight models this year feature two-sided perimeter lighting using LED technology to cast a synchronized surrounding glow on the wall.

The North American company will not introduce at CES an Aurea LCD TV, which adds the AmbiLight effect to the front of the TV bezel. The concept was introduced for the European market at last fall's IFA show.

Muller said his Philips continues to study American audiences to see if the feature will be desirable over here, and may have something later in the year.

The Magnavox-branded TV line also focuses on LCD, and will include the 19-, 22-, 32-, 42-, 47- and 52-inch screen sizes. The line will have more limited distribution this year, "probably using just three retailers," Muller said.

Magnavox will also include 19- and 32-inch LCD/DVD combo models.

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