Sharp Electronics announced a new marketing strategy for the second half of the year emphasizing 1,080p-capable large-screen LCD TVs and a forthcoming Sharp-branded Blu-ray Disc player with 1,080p output.
Taking a path similar to one just announced by Sony (see p. 4), Sharp executives told members of the press here that their company continues to augment its presence in large-screen LCD with the introduction of new 1,080p capable models, and will soon offer those sets a 1,080p signal source with the delivery of its first Blu-ray Disc player, this fall.
Bob Scaglione, Sharp product and marketing group senior VP and general manager, pointed out that Sharp was among the first to market 1,080p LCD TVs in the United States and has continued to stay on the cutting edge of LCD technology with the recent introduction of a 37W-inch 1,080p LCD TV model featuring “true HD” inputs — HDMI and DVI inputs capable of accepting full 1,080p signal sources. It is one of the smallest 1,080p models in the market.
The company is expected to expand the assortment later in the year as the company ramps up large-panel LCD product at its Kameyama 2 product lines in Japan.
Sharp has previously marketed 1,080p models in the 45W-inch, 57W-inch and 65W-inch screen sizes. Currently, only the new 37W-inch model has “true HD” 1,080p input capability, but Scaglione said all large-screen 1,080p LCD TV introductions (45W-inches and above) going forward will include the capability.
“We would like to believe that Sharp continues to define high-definition TV, particularly when it comes to LCD flat panel,” Scaglione said. “We do that in superior picture quality, creative designs and the introduction of innovative new technologies including new large screen sizes that will lead the industry.”
Key new Sharp models in the D40 line now feature 6ms response times, 1,200:1 contrast ratios and a 176-degree viewing angle.
In addition, Sharp said it would introduce in the fourth quarter its first front projectors with 1,080p capability.
Sharp is calling its 1,080p products “true HD” 1,080p, and is underscoring its status in offering “the broadest product line as a true HD supplier,” said Mike Troetti, Sharp Electronics Marketing Company of America president.
Sharp’s advertising campaign for the second quarter launched in May stressing “detail behind the details,” Scaglione said. The effort flags attention to Sharp’s 1,080p technology with 6.2 million pixels on screen, which is double what was available before.
The first phase of the campaign includes TV spots against 16 season finales of major television shows. The second phase begins this month using print ads in monthly and weekly magazines, and billboards in major markets including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
The third phase will launch in September and will highlight new product introductions for the fourth quarter, which Sharp will announce at a later date.
Bruce Tripido, Sharp entertainment products division senior director and group leader, said the company expects to introduce its first Blu-ray Disc player in the United States this fall, and that the player would have full 1,080p HDMI output capability. However, no other details were currently available.
“Sharp is one of the co-owners of Blu-ray Disc technology, and we expect to launch in 2006 the most attractive model — the slimmest in height — in the market,” said Tripido.
Meanwhile, Troetti said Sharp’s sales and marketing operations were restructured as of April 1 to be “more customer and channel focused.”
Scaglione was named senior VP and group manager of the new product and marketing group, which is comprised of three product divisions including the entertainment products division that combines audio, video and display product categories “under one roof.”
Tripido was promoted to senior director and group leader of the entertainment products division. Under him is Tony Favia, who is now in charge of 16:9 LCD TVs; Bob Pleyer, who is now in charge of 4:3 LCD TV and CRT TVs; Jason Gastman, who handles audio and DVD; and Sean McBride, who handles front projectors as well as products sold to stadiums and hotels.
In addition, Sharp separated out its distribution channels, creating a national accounts group handling electronic superstores, mass merchants, office superstores and warehouse clubs; a regional accounts group covering all non-national retail accounts; and the commercial solutions and sales and applications group handling products designed for specific applications as well as products with cross-over applications for business and commercial purposes.