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EPI Adds Envision By AOC-Branded LCD SKUs

2/12/2007 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Envision Peripherals (EPI), a division of AOC, is expanding its line of Envision by AOC-branded LCD TVs with a pair of smaller screen units.

The 15-inch L15X661 and 19W-inch L19W461 are being added to the line to give retailers a wider selection of value-oriented flat-panel models to choose from, said Luke Ouyang, AOC consumer electronics products group director.

The models will be added to current Envision LCD TVs in the 26W-inch, 32W-inch, 37W-inch, 42W-inch 768p and 42W-inch 1,080p screen sizes. The company also carries a 50W-inch 720p plasma set.

The two new sets will include ATSC tuners and HDMI inputs, said Ouyang, and the screen sizes and feature packs target dorm room, kitchen and bathroom placement, among other environments.

"Starting in March, the FCC requires that all televisions, even the small sizes, have digital tuners built in," Ouyang said. "So we are introducing a 15-inch 4:3 and 19W-inch widescreen with digital tuners this year. In the second quarter we will introduce a 22W-inch model."

The tuner will add a $40 to $50 cost to the set, Ouyang added.

Styling includes bottom-mounted and gloss black aluminum frames.

The 19W-inch L19W461 will carry a $499 suggested retail. A price for the 15-inch model has not been determined.

The 19-inch unit features 1,440 by 900 resolution, a 16:10 aspect ratio and 800:1 contrast ratio. Response time is said to be 5 milliseconds. Other features include a 170-degree viewing angle; Multiple Picture Mode that offers normal, zoom, wide and cinema options; and an electronic program guide.

The 15-inch piece features 1024 by 768 resolution, a 500:1 contrast ratio, 4:3 aspect ratio and an 8 millisecond response time.

Both models will start shipping this quarter to national retailers and select online accounts. The company is targeting specialty A/V accounts in addition to select chains, Ouyang said.

"This year, compared with last year, our target is to double our volume," Ouyang observed. "We are aiming at some large size LCD models including 32W, 37W and 42W inches. We expect the market to be huge this year and flat-panel penetration will continue to go up."

Ouyang is forecasting a U.S. market size of 20 million flat-panel TV units in 2007, while worldwide volume will approach 70 million units.

"As pricing drops, more people are going to look to drive volume in the 42W-inch screen size this year, while the 32W-inch segment will remain a strong mainstream item," said Ouyang, observing that the entry cost for a 42W-inch LCD TV is already lower in cases than many 42W-inch HD plasma sets.

Although larger screen size LCD TVs began to take market share from the plasma category last year, EPI will continue to carry a single plasma SKU — an Envision branded 50W-inch model with 720p resolution — for screen sizes exceeding 42W inches.

For now, the company won't consider 1,080p plasma because the price is too high to compete effectively with first-tier companies, according to Ouyang.