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Samsung Expands LCD TV Lines

5/23/2006 03:49:00 PM Eastern

New York — LCD TV is taking center stage in Samsung’s 2006/2007 television line, as the company continues rolling out a total of 30 models planned for the year.

Although Samsung will continue to be a full-line LCD supplier with small, medium and big-screen models, much of the emphasis at a product showcase today for the press, here, was on the larger screen products.

The showcase simulated lifestyle settings in which Samsung’s various TV products will typically be found in consumers’ homes. LCD TVs, because of the wide array of screen sizes, ranging from 15 inches to 57W-inches, fit everywhere from a brightly lit sun room to a bench behind a whirlpool bathtub.

The big-screen LCD TV assortment this year features five 32W-inch models, one 37W-inch model, six 40W-inch models, three 46W-inch models, one 52W-inch model and one 57W-inch model.

In addition, 2006 marks the first year that 1,080p resolution will be aggressively marketed in the LCD TV line. A total of 10 models will feature 1,920 by 1,080p capability this year.

Jonas Tanenbaum, Samsung flat-panel products marketing director, said 32W-inch and 40W-inch screen sizes will be market drivers and as a result are getting special emphasis. In both screen sizes, the company is giving dealers a breadth of performance and feature steps for a good, better, best offering, he said, adding that many dealers are carrying two and in some cases three models in key screen sizes.

This year, Samsung’s step-up large-screen LCD TVs feature a proprietary Super Pattern Vertical Alignment (S-PVA) panel that allows 178-degree off-angle viewing.

Special attention has also been given to cosmetic styling, Tanenbaum said, explaining that top Samsung managers have directed the company to enhance the visual appeal of cabinetry in the LCD category.

An example of this direction is found in the company’s 96 model series, with gloss-black bezel and base, and down-firing below-screen speaker ports.

The series lists screen sizes of 32W inches (shipping in July at a $2,299 suggested retail); 40W inches ($4,099, August); and 46W-inches ($4,799 suggested retail), and will be distributed primarily to A/V specialty stores and Pro Group members.

The 40W-inch and 46W-inch models incorporate 1,080p resolution, Cold Cathode Florescent back lighting (CCFL), digital CableCARD slot, USB input and a nine-in-two memory-card reader.

Samsung also showed models in its currently shipping 92 Series, which offers panels with 1,366 by 768 pixel resolution, a 5,000:1 contrast ratio, dual HDMI inputs, component video inputs and a 178-degree viewing angle. Screen sizes include 32W inches ($2,199), 40W inches ($3,299) and 46W inches ($3,999).

Playing to the importance of cosmetics, Tanenbaum said he has seen strong demand for new all-white, high-gloss 52 series models, designed for kitchen and bathroom placement. The series, with 26W-inch, 32W-inch and 40W-inch screen sizes, was crafted in white lacquer cabinets with rounded contour edges.

A similar 51 series, dubbed Bordeaux, is offered in black lacquer cabinets to appeal to consumers looking for living room or family room placement.

Meanwhile, Tanenbaum said Samsung is also seeing strong business for its plasma products, despite recent price drops in LCD.

“Today, our entry 40W-inch LCD TV is slightly below the price of our entry 42W-inch HD plasma,” said Tanenbaum. “We are testing that right now. We don’t have any magic crystal ball that can say which display type consumers are ultimately going to want, but right now both products are high in market share, and demand for our plasma product remains very strong. We see that continuing at least for the near- and midterm.”

Many of Samsung’s new plasma models employ the company’s FilterBright anti-reflective technology, designed to improve contrast performance in brightly lit environments.

Samsung showed plasma models in two series — 53 and 73. Screen sizes in the 73 line include 50W ($4,299) and 42W inches ($3,299). Both ship in July and feature an “invisible speaker” cabinet design, swivel stands, dual HDMI inputs, 175-degree viewing angles, built-in ATSC tuner and CableCARD slot, and nine-in-two memory card slots.

The 53 Series includes 50W-inch ($3,999) and 42W-inch ($2,999) models, featuring built-in ATSC/NTSC tuners, “invisible speaker” cabinets and dual HDMI inputs.

Samsung is currently selling a 63W-inch plasma model in the HP-R6372 ($9,999), with built-in HD tuner, CableCARD slot and DNIe image enhancer.

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