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Samsung Introduces 2003 DTV Lineup

Building on its growing momentum as a digital television leader, Samsung used a press conference at CBS Television Studios here to kick off its 2003 digital television lines.

At the entry point for HDTV, Samsung announced new aggressively priced digital-ready direct view CRT HDTV monitors. This year, the company will offer 11 direct-view HDTV models in three model series, including a 30W-inch fully integrated HDTV set.

The Premier series of HDTV monitors includes four models in the 26W-inch TXN2670WHF (a new screen size carrying a $799 street price), the 27-inch 4:3 TXN2771HF ($699 street), the 30W-inch TXN3071WHF ($999 street) and the 32-inch 4:3 TXN3271HF ($999 street). All models add this year 3:2 pull-down film-to-video correction and Light Touch front-panel icon control keys.

The step-up Neo Side-Sound Series offers three screen sizes in the 27-inch 4:3 TXN2775HF ($899 street), the 30W-inch TXN3075WHF ($999 street) and the 32-inch 4:3 TXN3275HF ($999 street). These monitors remove controls from the front of the set for a cleaner look and include a 30-watt audio system, Finer Pixel Dot Pitch flat CRTs, 3:2 pull-down and optional stands.

The top-end Neo Slim-Width design series also offers three screen sizes in the 27-inch 4:3 TXN2798HF ($899 street), the 30W-inch TXN3098WHF ($1,299 street) and the 32-inch TXN3298HF ($1,199 street). All have a slimmer-width design allowing them to fit in tighter cabinet and wall-furniture enclosures. Models also add the DVI-HDCP digital interface and Samsung’s new Digital Natural Image engine (DNIe). The feature, which is also added to DLP-rear-projection and flat-panel DTVs, yield improved contrast, detail, white tone and noise reduction.

Meanwhile, the company is now looking to introduce “around August” a 30W-inch fully integrated direct-view HDTV set, which will include QAM digital cable tuning and a DVI-HDCP digital interface.

“A lot of people look at high-definition TV as having to be a big TV, but we are aware that maybe big isn’t appropriate for everyone,” said John LaVoie, Samsung’s visual display group marketing manager. “We want to get those consumers to look at a digital TV that is much more affordable.”

LaVoie said Samsung will also add a pair of 4:3 480p EDTV-capable monitors in the 27-inch ($499 street) and 32-inch ($699 street) screen sizes later in the year for consumers who want the benefit of progressive-scan DVDs but aren’t as concerned with HDTV resolution.

In DLP rear-projection, Samsung will carry five screen sizes and seven models this year. All include Texas Instruments’ widescreen 1,280 by 720 DLP chipset, DVI-HDCP digital interfaces and Samsung’s aforementioned DNIe circuitry.

The silver-bezel PDP series includes the 43W-inch HLN4365 ($3,699 suggested retail) and 50W-inch HLN5065 ($4,499 suggested), both of which are shipping now to retail channels including Sears and Best Buy.

The black-bezel series will include the 47W-inch HLN437 ($3,699 suggested), 50W-inch HLN507 ($4,499 suggested) and 61W-inch HLN617W ($5,499 suggested). Distribution is currently directed to regional TV appliance retailers and Circuit City. The latter will carry the 43W- and 50W-inch models.

In the new “ultra-thin bezel” series, Samsung will introduce in the May-June time frame a 46W-inch ($3,999 suggested) model and a 56W-inch ($4,999 suggested) model. In flat-panel TV, Samsung will carry expanded assortments of both plasma and LCD monitors.

In plasma displays, Samsung will increase its assortment from three to five models in 2003. All will feature Samsung’s third generation chassis affording contrast ratios of 1,200:1 or better and brightness levels starting at 800 candelas per meter squared. Dual NTSC tuners and DVI-HDCP are also included, and all but the 63W-inch PDP will package an integrated and removable pedestal stand.

The top-of-the-line again this year is the 63W-inch HPN6339 (July, $19,999 suggested) HDTV model, which Samsung bills as the world’s largest.

For more on Samsung’s HDTV introductions in plasma, LCD and CRT rear-projection models, see expanded story