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PC/CE Products Dominate Retailvision 2004

Indian Wells, Calif. – Retailvision Spring 2004 wrapped up last week in the California desert with more than 206 vendors and 200retailer representatives braved unseasonable 100 degree heat to view a slew of new products, which for the first time included several CE devices such as flat-panel TVs and DVD players.

The new products included flat-panel televisions from KiSS Technology, Maxent and Syntax, while on the PC side of the show Ricavision showed off a new Media Center PC, Buffalo Technology USA had new wireless home networking devices and Antec unveiled a new PC do it yourself kit.

KiSS’ Coolview LCD line will include 17-inch, 22-inch and 30-inch models. All are HD-ready, have 400 to 1 contrast ratios, a TV-tuner, stereo speakers, picture in picture, Ethernet and wireless networking ability and USB 2.0. The latter two models also include a built-in DVD player. The 17-inch will ship first with a June launch date and an $899 suggested retail price. Next up will be the 22-inch and 30-inch versions that will follow in the third and fourth quarters, respectively. Pricing has not been set.

In September KiSS will ship a 42-inch plasma display with a $6,999 suggested retail price. Like the other models it will have a built-in DVD player with DivX compatibility.

Regent USA showed its Maxent brand of flat-panel televisions, originally debuted in January at CES, along with the new MX-RS215 DVD+R/+RW recorder. The company now has on the market LCD models with screen sizes ranging from 20-inches to 30-inches and plasma models of 42 and 50-inches. These are being sold through distribution and Costco at what the company described as very aggressive price points

Advent reported at the show plans to enter the LCD TV market in September. The initial product will be a high-end 27-inch model with a suggested retail price inthe $1,499 to $1,799 range. Advent already sells CRT models..

Syntax USA said at Retailvision it will broaden its Olevia LCD line to include a 20-inch model, priced at $699, by June or July and follow it in September with a 37-inch version. Pricing has not been set for this product. The company has no plan to roll out plasma sets.

Syntax also will shake up its notebook computer line by culling its current 17 SKU line up down to three or four models representing a basic good, better, best strategy.

Despite the presence of so many CE firms, the bulk of the Retailvision exhibitor list was comprised of the shows traditional computer-centric firms.

Ricavision, a Netherlands-based firm, was at Retailvision for the first time to introduce the plix Media Center. The plix MCE 2800 and MCE 3200 will ship in July with suggested retail prices of $2,499 and $2,999. Company executives said Circuit City, Best Buu and Good Guys are expected to be the first retailers on board. The 2800 is powered by an Intel 2.8GHz Pentium 4 processor, with 512MB of DDR memory, 80GB hard drive, 40GB slim hard drive and a CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive. The 3200 differs by being bundled with 1GB of DDR memory, 120GB hard drive and 60GB slim hard drive.

The products are designed for living room use and the company is downplaying its computing abilility and instead hyping their multimedia capabilities.

Buffalo Technology was on hand to discuss its newest home networking technology, called AirStation OneTouch Secure System (AOSS). AOSS enables a consumer to quickly set up WEP level security for a wireless network by pushing one button on the back of the router and clicking on another button on the on-screen user interface. The AOSS equipped router and notebook adapter will ship this month with respective suggested retail prices of $125 and $99.

Visioneer displayed its first Xerox-branded products, a duplex scanner that will ship in May with a $999 price tag. It is targeted at corporate sales departments that purchase equipment at retail or through the major chain’s corporate sales departments.