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Toshiba Aims To Lead 1,080p Market

Looking to be the market leader in 1,080p microdisplay television, Toshiba will bring its 1,080p projection television crusade to CEDIA Expo this week, showcasing six DLP models capable of presenting the ultimate HD display format.

“Toshiba started 1,080p microdisplay PTV, and we will lead the way again in 2005,” said Scott Ramirez, Toshiba’s TV marketing VP, referring to the company’s introduction of 1,080p LCoS models three years ago. “In fact, the first of our six new 1,080p [DLP] models are shipping now.”

Toshiba’s DLP lineup includes 11 sets, six in 1,080p and five in 720p. Five of the models are positioned in Toshiba’s step-up Cinema Series, with the remainder in the TheaterWide line.

Ramirez said Toshiba will position its 1,080p DLPs against Sony’s recently announced 1,080p SXRD models by stressing picture performance and value.

“When compared to SXRD, Toshiba provides 12 additional inches of screen size at the same price points — 62 inches vs. 50 inches and 72 inches vs. 60 inches — even when compared to [Sony’s] new cost-down models with a 22 percent smaller chip, and 40 percent lower wattage lamp,” he said.

All of Toshiba’s DLP models this year are digital cable ready, including ATSC/QAM tuning and digital CableCARD slots.

Other features include TV Guide On Screen programming guides, and IEEE-1394 (DTVLink) interfaces for connection to Toshiba’s Symbio digital video recorder.

Ramirez pointed out to CEDIA dealers that Cinema Series DLP sets and plasma TVs this year incorporate a PC input and Toshiba Home Interactive Network Connection (THINC) system with Ethernet port. THINC allows the television to be easily connected to a computer to access MP3 audio and JPEG picture files using the TV remote.

Cinema Series 1,080p DLPs, which are due to ship in September and October, will be offered in the 56W-inch ($3,499.99), 62W-inch ($3,999.99) and 72W-inch ($5,299.99) screen sizes. TheaterWide models are shipping now.

Toshiba also carries a 19-model flat-panel assortment this year, including five plasmas and 14 LCD TVs. Seven of the LCD-TV models in the 14-inch to 37-inch screen sizes feature built-in DVD players, which Toshiba calls “LCDVDs.”

“Some manufacturers may try to rebrand their LCD-TV lineup with a new name, but no new features, but not Toshiba,” Ramirez declared. “LCDVD is not just a new series name, it is a true consumer benefit.”

Toshiba recently cut the suggested retail price on its 23W-inch LCDVD by $100, to $1,399.99. A 27W-inch model carries a $1,999.99 suggested retail. The minimum advertised price on a 32W-inch Cinema Series model was reduced $400, to $2,299, and a 37W-inch model now carries a $3,499.99 price.

Cinema Series digital-cable-ready plasma sets are offered in the 50W-inch (shipping this month at $4,499.99) and 42W-inch ($3,499.99, now) screen sizes. Similarly sized TheaterWide plasma models are offered at $3,999.99 and $2,999.99, respectively.

The company also offers a 42W-inch EDTV plasma monitor ($1,999.99) in its Custom Series.

Toshiba was not expected to show preproduction samples of new SED flat-panel technology at CEDIA, Ramirez said, although a smaller prototype sample maybe demonstrated to invited guests. The company is expected to debut the first large-screen SED models, which are scheduled to ship in the United States next year, at the upcoming CEATEC show in Japan.