By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
A line of LCoS-based rear-projection HDTV monitors, an analog widescreen direct-view set, and an expanded selection of DTVs using Pixel Plus image processing highlighted an extensive Philips 2003 product line at CES.
Now two years into its brand transition, Philips has shifted 80 percent of its television business under the Philips brand, from 5 percent in 2000. The percentage of the Philips-branded digital television business was 29 percent in 2002, with significant gains coming in the final months of the year, the company said. Philips expects that percentage to grow to 50 percent this year.
Philips televisions are now positioned under sub-brand segments to better focus on different consumer audiences, said Des Power, Philips North American television marketing senior VP.
In digital television, Philips offers three sub-brand levels including MatchLine, featuring top- of the-line performance; Epic, featuring high performance with a system element; and HD, focused on digital cinema mixing style and value. For analog TV, the Philips brand carries the Designer Series.
For low-priced mass-market analog TV, Philips offers a limited selection of Magnavox-branded product.
The 2003 television focus will be on expanding the mind share for Philips' Flat TV and expanding Pixel Plus technology into multiple display types as "the glue that holds the MatchLine series together," Power said.
Philips will employ dedicated product "launch teams" that are charged with promoting and supporting new technologies among retailers and the trade. The focus this year is on Flat TV, Pixel Plus and LCoS TV, Power said.
Pixel Plus will be included in eight 2003 MatchLine Series models including: two direct-view models, two plasma models, two CRT rear-projection models and two LCoS rear-projection models. The technology doubles the number of lines of resolution and the number of pixels per line in any analog video signal, creating, for example, 2.1 million pixels of detail from a DVD.
For plasma display panels, Philips is incorporating the Pixel Plus circuitry into a new external electronic-box (e-box) it uses to house circuitry such as tuners, source inputs and video processing systems.
The e-box (FTR9965, mid-year) will be supplied for 42W-inch 42FD9954 (1,024 by 1,024 pixels) and 50W-inch 50FD9955 (1,365 by 768) MatchLine plasma models. Philips will also carry a 32W-inch 32FD9954 (1,024 by 852 pixels) PDP and in June a new 42W-inch VGA model 42FD9934 (852 by 480 pixels) panel without speakers or tuner.
In LCD TV, Philips will introduce at mid-year a new lineup with 13-inch, 15-inch, and 20-inch 4:3 models, all with speakers mounted below the screen. A step-up 15-inch (1,024 by 768) unit adds Philips' higher-end Active Control feature, VGA input, and NTSC and FM tuners.
In widescreen, Philips will offer the 17W-inch, 23W-inch and 30W-inch screen sizes. All will have 16:9 aspect ratio screens, and will include Active Control, VGA input, NTSC/FM tuning, 3D-Y/C comb filter, and new design and stand elements. The 23W-inch and 30W-inch models will ship in the third quarter.
Meanwhile, the LG.Philips LCD manufacturing joint venture also demonstrated a 52W-inch LCD panel that was recently announced by the Korea-based factory.
New in rear-projection HDTV monitors was Philips' first line of HD monitors based on the single-chip Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) micro-display technology. The technology will be offered in four models in two feature classes — MatchLine and Epic.
The technology is said to be capable of driving extra large-size TV screens with short-depth requirements, lightweight cabinets and high-quality HDTV images (1,280 by 720 native resolution).
Models will include, in the Epic Series, the 55W-inch 55PL9523 ($3,999.99 suggested retail) and 44W-inch 44PL9523 ($3,499.99), and in the MatchLine series featuring Pixel Plus, the 55W-inch 55PL9773 ($4,299.99) and the 44W-inch 44PL9773 ($3,899.99). All four LCoS units will ship in the summer.
Philips' LCoS televisions are based on a single digital reflective panel, enabled by a proprietary system of synchronized rotating prisms to produce and mix the primary red, green and blue colors. Other features in the displays include Digital Natural Motion and Digital Crystal Clear video processing technology, two-tuner double window PIP, and HD component and DVI broadband video inputs.
In CRT rear-projection, Philips will carry the MatchLine models in the 55W-inch (55PP9753) and 60W-inch (60PP9753) screen sizes, both featuring Pixel Plus, Digital Natural Motion and a new cabinet style.
In direct view, Philips will add in the second quarter its 9819 MatchLine Series featuring the 30W- and 34W-inch screen sizes, both with Pixel Plus technology.
And in an unusual step, Philips unveiled an analog direct-view set and analog TV/DVD combo unit, both incorporating 30W-inch 16:9 picture tubes. The 30W-inch set was expected to see an under $1,000 street retail price.
In set-top boxes, Philips said it has reached an agreement with DirecTV to sell the DSR7000 DirecTV DVR, which is billed as a second-generation Philips digital video recorder. The Philips DSR7000 will ship this spring at a $199 suggested retail price and will combine both reception of DirecTV programming with the ability to record and playback up to 35 hours of programming at a time using TiVo services.
In DVD recording, the company showed the LX9000R home theater system incorporating a DVD+RW/+R recorder with multichannel Super Audio CD (SACD) playback capability. The LX9000R will ship in June at a $1,199.00 suggested retail price. The all-in-one home theater system includes 6 by 75-watt digital amplifier, and a dual subwoofer that integrates two bass pipe subwoofers into the front speaker columns.
This year, Philips included both six- and eight-hour recording options in new DVD+RW/+R recorders at VHS and V-CD-resolution quality, respectively.
In dedicated DVD recording decks, Philips will add the MatchLine DVDR80 ($799 suggested, April availability), which will include Faroudja's high-end DCDi chip for deinterlacing film-based movies in progressive scan format. Also, when recording the DVDR80 will turn on a red glowing LED around the disc tray.
A step-down version, model DVDR75 will replace the DVDR985. It uses Philips' progressive scan technology, and includes component video input. It will ship in March at $699.
In addition, recorders will offer a disc menu system and automatic disc initialization and finalization processes. To enhance the recorders' value as time-shifting devices, Philips is including the TV Guide Plus free electronic program service in the DVDR80 to simplify the process of finding programs and programming the recorder to record them. A disc manager feature will also use Guide Plus to automatically pull title information and program data to tag disc recordings.
All models include include i.LINK (IEEE-1394) interfaces for use in transferring camcorder tapes to disc.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.