By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Runco officially launched at CES the first products under its recently acquired Vidikron brand, and actively enlisted new dealer accounts that previously have not qualified for Runco's line of high-performance home theater video displays and components.
The initial lineup includes four models: a pair of DLP front projectors, a 46W-inch HDTV plasma display panel and a flagship high-performance LCD front projector with an outboard Faroudja video processor incorporating a high performance DVD player. The first products are expected to be available to retailers within the next 45 to 60 days. Prices have not been determined.
As announced at the CEDIA Expo, Runco acquired the Vidikron brand and assets (including the Projectavision brand) in order to launch a more broadly distributed line of high quality home theater displays and projectors while reserving Runco products for its core custom installer distribution base (see TWICE, Oct. 14, 2002, p 14).
The company is looking for audio/video specialists and consumer electronics chains that are capable of providing a high level of sales support, installation and aftermarket support, while moving products at higher volumes than Runco has previously sought to produce.
Runco products will continue to be positioned as an elite class of products, while Vidikron will be used as a high-performance brand for more mainstream retail audiences. The company said great care is being taken to protect the Runco business from any cannibalization from the Vidikron effort. As an example, the company decided not to use "a Runco International Co." flag under the Vidikron label, as was originally considered.
Mark Stein, a consultant who was brought in to help re-launch Vidikron under the Runco umbrella, said the company is starting out slowly by piecing together a separate sales support team, but will at least initially have Runco reps cover both brands. Chuck Turigliatto, Runco sales and marketing VP, is currently handling sales, while a search is conducted for someone to take over the Vidikron business.
All of the new Vidikron products were developed and manufactured at Runco's California facilities and share the same quality control programs used for Runco-branded models, Stein said.
Initial products will include the Rubino DLP front projector, offering 1,000 ANSI lumens of brightness, 848 by 600 pixel resolution, 900:1 contrast ratio, internal video/processing scaling with 3:2 film detection, and multiple aspect ratio capability. Inputs include RGB/component via BNC, component via RCA, and RGB via 15-pin D-sub.
The step-up Amica DLP projector incorporates TI's 1,280 by 720 pixel native 16:9 DMD chip. The projector boasts a 900:1 contrast ratio, multiple aspect ratio capability and advanced scaling with 3:2 pull-down film detection. Inputs include RGB/component via BNC, component via RCA and RGB via 15-pin D-sub.
Vidikron will also be used for a 46W-inch widescreen plasma display panel with 852 by 480 pixel (480p) native resolution, 300cd/m2 brightness, 852:1 contrast ratio and 160-degree viewing angle. Inputs include DVI, RGB via 15-pin D-sub, and component video.
Vidikron's flagship model is the Vision One, and features a bright yellow cabinet reminiscent of the flashy styles and colors used for earlier flagship Vidikron projectors. The product offers three 1,600 by 1,200 LCD panels, 5,000 ANSI lumens of brightness via an unusual four-lamp illumination system that enables each of the 100 watt replaceable UHP lamps to run at less than full intensity to extend lamp life to between 6,000-8,000 hours.
Contrast is listed at 1,000:1 and inputs include DVI, RGB via 15-pin D-sub, RGBHV via BNC, and component video via BNC.
Also available is a matching Vidikron/ Faroudja Theater manager outboard processor and DVD player, which reunites the Faroudja and Runco companies after past competitive skirmishes. Stein said Vidikron and Faroudja, which have long been associated in the past, have a strong working relationship, and past differences between Runco and Faroudja have disappeared.
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.