A 70-inch plasma TV, a 54-inch LCD, a combination cellphone/TV, a preview of a wireless home networking system, and the first news of a deal with Napster were just some of the items of interest at the Samsung "DigitAll Inspiration Showcase."
The high-profile event, held at Cipriani's restaurant, drew press, market analysts and leading retail executives. Luminaries such as Circuit City chairman/president/CEO Alan McCollough, Best Buy executive VP/GMM Ron Boire and CompUSA's president/CEO Hal Compton, among others, were in attendance.
While Samsung Electronics vice chairman/CEO Jong-Yong Yun spoke, along with Samsung Electronics America's president/CEO Dong-Jin Oh and senior VP of strategic marketing Peter Weedfald discussed Samsung's plans and strategy (See story on p. 1), the real stars of the evening were the products that were displayed.
Here are some of the products that received their debut at the event:
A 70W-inch Plasma Display Panel (PDP) television, model PS70X4H. According to G.S. Choi, president of Samsung Electronics' Digital Media Network, the 70-inch PDP TV will be available in the spring or summer of next year. The display should be priced around $25,000 to $30,000 at retail, "but [the pricing] is very tentative," he noted, and will be determined by competitive pressures and future production efficiencies. Jim Sanduski, visual media products marketing VP, noted that the 70W-inch display features 1,920 by 1,080 progressive scan, is less than 4 inches deep and is quiet, due to its fanless design.
A 54W-inch TFT-LCD TV, model LTN545W, featuring SRS TruSurround. The display should be available during the second half of next year, and while pricing this now, due to the market, is "unpredictable," Choi said, he told TWICE it should retail for around $30,000. The LCD TV is just 2-inches thick, weighs 44 pounds and provides 1,920 by 1,080 progressive scan and a 16 by 9 aspect ratio.
A 46W-inch LCD TV, model LTN465W, is said to feature HDTV capability and should be available either by the end of this year or early 2004, Choi noted, with a "tentative" retail price of around $12,000.
The HPP5091 is a 50W-inch plasma that features a HDTV set-top box that wirelessly transmits the signal to the set, eliminating the need for more wires. Choi said the plasma display should be shipped "early next year" in the United States and should be priced "$1,500 to $2,000 more" than a typical display at retail due to the wireless feature.
A cellular phone with built-in NTSC television that can fit into a shirt pocket is the SGH-P705. The phone/TV has full GSM/GPRS capabilities, a 260,000 color TFT LCD display and a built-in WAP 2.0 browser. Pricing and availability have not been set.
A Pocket PC Phone, model i700, was developed in conjunction with Microsoft and includes Windows Media Player, full Microsoft Office functionality, a VGA camera and a 3.5-inch screen. Currently available through Verizon, it is priced at around $600.
Weedfald took advantage of the DigitAll Inspiration event by announcing that the company has a new technology and marketing partnership with Napster, centered around a portable music device designed specifically to work with the new Napster 2.0. Details concerning the product and the agreement will be announced by Samsung next month, Weedfald said.
And in a look to the future, Samsung showed its Home Media Center, which was billed as an all-in-one wireless digital home server. According to the company, consumers will have the ability to share a variety of multimedia content between A/V and IT devices within the home. The Home Media Center runs on an embedded Linux OS supporting Universal Plug and Play. Among the features the Home Media Center will include are a digital home server with broadband Internet access, a personal video recording device (PVR), electronic program guide and a DVD/CD player. Timing of the product rollout and estimated pricing will be announced in the future.