When it comes to new television introductions, Toshiba is joining a growing list of manufacturers who will deliver products in two annual cycles, and International CES will be its showcase for its first-half offerings.
Scott Ramirez, Toshiba TV products marketing VP, said due to intensified competition and rapidly changing TV market dynamics, the company will deliver products this year in two sixth-month cycles. The first half segment will ship in the February/March timeframe and the second half, to be unveiled later in the year, will include products slated for August/September, giving the manufacturer time to make adjustments as needed.
Although the fall deliveries are timed for debut at the higher-end CEDIA Expo, products introduced then will not necessarily be limited to the custom segment of the market, Ramirez said, adding that Toshiba "will do whatever it can to get the right products to its customers as efficiently and quickly as it can."
However, all display products this year will be limited exclusively to flat-panel LCD technology, following the company's decision last year to drop plasma and rear-projection TVs. Also dropped is any attempt to market CableCARD-ready products, Ramirez said, because despite what they say publicly, "cable operators aren't aggressively supporting them" for end users until a bi-directional system is agreed upon.
At CES, Toshiba will show five new LCD TV series, four of which will carry Toshiba's higher-performance Regza badge, while the AV500 series will be purely Toshiba branded.
The overall assortment includes four new high-gloss cosmetic designs, three dimensions in picture quality, and features that optimize the sets for video game play.
For 2008, all Regza models feature a "ThinLine Bezel" design with high-gloss black frames, the Regza engine with PixelPure 4G processing and a new "gaming mode" that allows bypassing video processing circuitry to speed up game play while placing inputs on the side for easier access by gamers.
The Toshiba AV500 series will include the 19-, 22-, 26-, 32-, 37-, and 42-inch screen sizes, all with 720p high-definition resolution.
The Regza CV510 series includes 32-, 37-, and 42-inch screen sizes with 720p HD resolution, designed especially for "gaming enthusiasts," Ramirez said.
The Regza RV530 series includes the 32-, 37-, 42-, 46-, and 52-inch 1080p Full HD models, all distinguished by a "Surface Tension" design targeted at home theater enthusiasts.
The series marks the first under 42-inch LCD TVs from Toshiba to support 1080p resolution, and Ramirez said consumers in smaller living quarters, who typically sit closer to their TV screens, will see a discernable difference in picture quality over comparably sized 720p units.
The Regza XV540 series will include the 42-, 46-, and 52-inch screen sizes, all with 1080p Full HD resolution and Toshiba's "ClearFrame 120 Hz frame rate" conversion technology for clearer and smoother fast-motion images.
The XF550 series includes 40-, 46- and 52-inch screen sizes, all with 1080p Full HD resolution, ClearFrame 120 Hz frame rate conversion, a new "SuperContrast" technology, and what Toshiba is calling "the World's thinnest super narrow bezel design."
The two series with 120Hz frame rate conversion this year will give viewers the ability to select between two options for displaying the system — an interpolated mode, which is used in current Toshiba 120Hz sets and ideally suited for sports watchers, or a 5:5 pulldown, which is said to produce images that are more film-like, and ideal suited for movie purists.
Select 1080p models this year will add the company's newly enhanced DynaLight circuitry that is said to increase Dynamic Contrast to 15,000:1, and 30,000:1.
Those models also include ColorBurst Ultra technology that creates wide color depth at 108 percent of the NTSC color gamut, 10-bit LCD panels and a 14-bit PixelPure 4G digital video processor that is said to produce 16,384 levels of gradation.
All Regza models also include a PC input. Full HD 1080p models add a high-res PC input to enhance high-end graphics.