CES 2011: Coby Expands TV Lines With 3D, Big Screen Models



Coby Electronics will be using International CES as a sort of coming-out party as it enters a new phase into step-up consumer electronics products that offer both value and new technology messages.

Coby president Michael Troetti told TWICE the company will use TV and smart portable devices as its growth engines for 2011.

“In TV, Coby has always played as a value-oriented brand, but starting with International CES we will also be introducing a lineup of IPTV and a lineup of 3D TVs,” Troetti said. “We expect to break out of the [opening price point] side and add some products that offer both value and profit for us and our dealers.”

In TV, the company will begin to transition a majority of its line away from CCFL backlit LCD models in screen sizes measuring 24 inches and smaller during the first quarter. At the same time, the company is introducing an assortment of its largest screen sizes to date — 46, 55, 60 and 65 inches — with lighting sources mixed between LED and CCFL, Troetti said.

The 60- and 65-inch sets are slated for a July to August launch window, prior to which more details will be announced.

“Since we only do the one show a year, we felt it important to make a statement that Coby has moved out of its comfort zone of up to 32-inch TVs, and added larger screen sizes to become a major player in the TV category,” Troetti said.

He explained that Coby offers dealers an assortment of value-priced small-screen LCDs, which are being vacated by the tier-one brands, and as a Chinese sourced company will now look to take advantage of the yen-todollar currency issues faced by Japanese competitors, by offering more affordably priced big screen sets as well.

Troetti said Coby will offer LED edge lighting in a majority of the new largescreen classes in 2011, but will likely include CCFL backlit options in the 46- and 55-inch classes to provide a value step option for its dealer partners.

Currently, Coby services primarily regional CE accounts, with a select national retailer also scheduled to make “a run,” he said. But, he added, “you will not find us with the higher-velocity retail channels and warehouse clubs.”

This will give smaller accounts an affordable brand resource for leverage.

All told, Coby will launch 14 new LCD models, including five SKUs with new built-in IPTV Internet streaming capability, and six models with active-shutter 3D capability and 120Hz clear motion technology, and one glasses-less 3D model.

Troetti said Coby expects to have one of the widest 3D screen-size selections in the industry with SKUs encompassing the 22-, 24-, 32-, 40-, 46- and 55-inch classes. Pricing will be announced at the show.

“In 3D we will have small screens and large screens, but focus on the small screens first,” he explained. “The 40 and larger models will likely be second-quarter introductions, and the 22- through 32-inch models will be first- to mid-second-quarter introductions.”

The 22-inch glasses-less 3D model was designed primarily for video gamers, he said. It will later by joined by a range of active-shutter glasses-enabled models measuring from 24 to 55 inches.

For IPTV, Troetti said Coby made a strategic decision not to mix IPTV functionality in 3D capable models.

“We separated the lines because we believe there is a customer who would like a 3D-only set, and a customer that would like just the IPTV set,” Troetti said.

Meanwhile, new LED IPTVs will include the 22-inch LEDIPTV2256, 23-inch LEDIPTV2356, 32-inch LEDIPTV3256, 40-inch LEDIPTV4056 and 55-inch LEDIPTV5556. Various models will include the option of builtin Wi-Fi access and/or Ethernet jacks.

All will be powered by the Android operating system and will ship at the end of the second quarter, Troetti said.

He said that among the benefits of using the Android platform for TV is that it can accept a wide range of available apps with connections to a multitude of streaming entertainment services, without the need for the set manufacturer to make special service arrangements.

Starting this year, the company will introduce a Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) program for new IPTV and 3D TV products, “but still walk a very fine line as to how we position them against tier one competitors,” Troetti explained.

Coby will also offer a 3D-capable portable DVD player that will up convert 2D images to 3D on a glasses-less 3D screen. Troetti said the product will fit with the teen-andyounger customer demographic that has served the company well in other categories.


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