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InFocus Inroduces Rear-Projection TVs

InFocus will use CEDIA Expo to unveil its first rear-projection HDTV sets and its first LCD-based front projector, and plans to use the products to expand into more A/V specialty and mass market retail accounts.

Jim Davis, InFocus’ home entertainment marketing director, said the company will unveil ScreenPlay 61W-inch and a 50W-inch DLP-based fully integrated rear-projection HDTV sets for core dealers as well as new A/V specialty accounts it hopes to add soon.

Both rear projection sets — models SP 61rp10 ($9,999 suggested retail) and SP 50rp10 ($7,999) — will feature an InFocus-developed light engine that enables an “ultra-thin” cabinet depth of under 7 inches.

InFocus is working collaboratively on the products with Thomson, which is also marketing 61W-inch and 50W-inch ultra-thin models for its dealer segments.

The thin cabinet depth and light weight of the units enables hang-on-the-wall placement, in fashion similar to flat-panel televisions.

The company expects to expand the line with a third 70W-inch screen early in 2005.

Davis said that as InFocus adds A/V specialty dealers to carry the new models, it will be careful not to overlap into Thomson’s accounts, and will continue to restrict sales of its high-performance DLP home theater front projectors through custom dealer channels.

The Thomson and InFocus products will be very similar, Davis said.

InFocus will maintain very select distribution, with full service and support, Davis said. The company also said dealers can expect about 30 points of margin on InFocus products.

The two models will each include dual integrated HDTV tuners, a uni-directional CableCARD slot, HDMI/HDCP input and an IEEE-1394 interface.

At the same time, InFocus will unveil its first non-DLP-based front projector for the home theater market. The ScreenPlay 5000 is a three-chip LCD-based HDTV front projector that will carry a $1,999 suggested retail price.

Davis said the unit is positioned primarily for home theater applications, and InFocus will target distribution primarily to warehouse clubs and other high-volume electronics dealers.

The company’s core dealers will not be disrupted with the aggressively priced addition, because the unit includes LCD technology, where InFocus’ core line projectors are DLP-based, Davis said.

InFocus has developed a small light-shielding kiosk to help demonstrate the unit on brightly lit retail floors.

The SP5000 will produce a full 1,280 by 720 resolution, and will include DVI-HDCP and component video inputs.