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Sony Opens Qualia Store, Adds HDTVs To The Brand

New York — Sony opened the doors on its high-end Qualia boutique store, here, last night, heralding the launch with the simultaneous introduction of two new Qualia television models.

The store, located on the lower level of the Sony Style store on Madison Avenue in Manhattan, will provide appointment only, one-to-one product demos of Sony’s higher-end models.

The store seeks to provide “unparalleled service for an emotional experience,” said Mike Fasulo, president, Sony Electronics eSolutions and the executive responsible for Qualia and the expansion of the Sony Style stores.

To that end, the intimate, dimly-lit space is bedecked with modern art and several living room vignettes featuring Sony component audio systems, laptops, and most prominently, wide-screen plasma and LCD sets. It houses the entire Qualia line, which includes the 004, an SXRD home theater front projector; the 016 digital camera; the 017 MiniDisc player; and the 010 headphones.

It will also highlight two new entries: the Qualia 005 and 006 televisions, which were announced at the launch.

According to Sony, the 46-inch Qualia 005 is the world’s first LCD flat-panel television equipped with a Triluminos LED technology for back-lighting the panel, which it claims improves the color variation of the set. It offers 1920 by 1080 HD resolution and will sell for around $10,000.

The Qualia 006 is a 70-inch rear-projection TV offering the company’s Silicon X-tal Reflective Display (SXRD) technology, which was originally introduced in the Qualia 004 front projector. The new microdisplay is, according to Sony, the industry’s first rear-projection set to achieve 1920 by 1080 HD resolution. Pricing on this set was not announced.

According to Fasulo, Sony will open a second Qualia store at the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, on Oct. 21. Like the New York location, it will be situated within a larger Sony Style store.

The thrust behind the Qualia line was to design a series of products “that never compromised” in its pursuit of a high quality experience, in contrast to the relentless, commoditized pursuit of market share that typically characterizes the consumer electronics market, said Nobuyuki Idei, chairman and CEO, Sony.

For consumers who open up their wallets for the premium line, Sony has promised an “ongoing relationship,” Fasulo said. The customer receives a personalized letter from their own concierge, as well as access to Sony’s exclusive Cierge program with invitations to Sony movies and other entertainment events.