By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Looking to give custom installers a protected TV line offering both cache and cash from higher-than-average margins, NuVision recently gave a formal sendoff here to its new Lucidium FX5 line of high-performance LCD TVs.
The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company used an upscale SoHo library/showroom to present the new line as it strives to cultivate an elitist appeal for the products and brand. The company is using the “Flatscreen Connoisseur” as the tagline in its promotional efforts.
Looking to broaden its affluent appeal, NuVision is limiting its distribution and visibility in the hope of catching the attention of more discerning followers. In that effort, the company used consumer focus studies to determine that it needed to understate its brand placement on the forthcoming flagship FX5 65 inch model, causing it to replace the bold silver center-bezel-mounted NuVision logo with a new more subtle logo design placed in the left-hand corner of the black brushed-aluminum frame.
The Lucidium FX5 Series includes the 42-, 47-, 52- and 65-inch screen sizes, all with CCFL backlighting, 1080p resolution, “True 120Hz” picture performance, NiDO image scaling, 10-bit image processing and digital switching deep black technologies.
The company also continued to fine-tune and elevate the picture performance of its LCD TV sets by developing an FX5 video processing system, which employs a new 5:5 pull-down technique instead of the commonly employed 3:2 or 2:3 systems in more mainstream flat-panel lines, said Dave Cusick, NuVision sales VP.
The FX5 system is firmware-based and eliminates the need for 3:2 pull-down algorithms found in 60Hz displays by recreating each frame five times, thus utilizing the 120Hz and high refresh rate of the panels. The company pointed out that most other LCD TV manufacturers use black-frame insertion or attempt to double the frames in an attempt to achieve 120Hz.
The sets also include NuVision's proprietary Frame Forward Motion (FFM) technology to create flicker-free fast sports and motion sequences by comparing two consecutive frames and generating additional interpolated frames. The FX5 and FFM systems have selectable on/off control for optimal use with a wide variety of source material.
The 42-inch FX5 model ships in late May at a $1,999 suggested retail; the 47-inch model ships in mid-June at a $2,799 suggested retail, and the 52- and 65-inch models ship in July at suggested retails of $3,599 and $11,999, respectively.
NuVision vice chairman David Hester said that unlike many other flat-panel TV brands playing to the middle of the market, NuVision is looking for significant growth — the forecast calls for NuVision sales to treble in 2009 — playing exclusively to the high-end market.
Hester pointed out that custom-installation dealers need a high-performance line they can trust to make a consistently high margin in the wake of recent departures of Pioneer and Hitachi from that market segment.
NuVision said it will only work with about 400 dealers (the company is in the process of choosing distributor partners now) and has a firm policy against Internet sales.
“You don't buy a diamond off the Web because you can't see the quality. We don't want our brand to be mass market,” Hester said. “We aren't looking to sell tens of thousands of units. We are happy selling a few thousand units and making sure our products are exquisite.”
As for service and support, he said, NuVision offers a two-year warranty, among the highest in the field, and the company is obsessive with quality control. NuVision engineering and product management VP Chris Porter recently shut down a production run four times to quality test products and processes, Hester said.
The company's top priorities, he continued, are “reliability, picture quality and margin.”
As for the future, NuVision will be expanding into thin-frame LED edge-lit products at the CEDIA Expo. After that the company expects to expand into 240Hz direct-lit LED models with “at least 192 sectors of local dimming,” according to Hester.
NuVision will call the new high-performance LED models its “plasma killers.”
“We will follow the best roadmaps that are out there,” Hester, said, comparing NuVision's approach to that used on Bentley automobiles. “We are about refining the technologies introduced by the large multi-national brands. We aren't about being first-to-market or about being me-too. We want to have something that is special, using the best components.”
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