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Toshiba Bows REGZA Flat-TV Brand

Tokyo — Toshiba announced in Japan the launch of a new global brand it will use to market a line of large-screen LCD flat-panel TVs that incorporate its “PixelPure” image processing technology.

The brand name, called REGZA, will be used on all of Toshiba’s flat-panel TVs that incorporate the company’s proprietary “PixelPure” high-bit image processing technology, Toshiba said.

Initially, in the U.S. the brand will apply only to LCD TVs, since Toshiba’s plasma models don’t use the PixelPure technology, Scott Ramirez, Toshiba U.S. television marketing VP, told TWICE.

New surface conduction electron emitter display (SED) models, which are expected to arrive later in 2006, will employ “PixelPure,” but no announcement has been made about using REGZA on SED, said Ramirez.

Toshiba will deliver the first REGZA TVs in Japan on March 1. Product launches will follow later in overseas markets including North America, Europe, China and other Asian countries, the company said.

The move is similar to steps taken in recent years by Sony, which uses the BRAVIA brand for step-up LCD TVs; Sharp, which uses AQUOS for higher-end LCD TVs; and Panasonic, which uses the VIERA brand on plasma televisions.

Ramirez said Toshiba’s U.S. sales and marketing company will carry 11 REGZA LCD models ranging in screen size from 26W- to 47W-inches.

REGZA will have no impact on Toshiba’s use of the Cinema Series brand for step-up electronics, said Ramirez, explaining that series name is used to identify more select distribution lines. REGZA models will be carried under multiple distribution series, he added.

“We’ll have REGZA and Cinema Series REGZA,” he explained.

REGZA will be used to unify a global brand for large-screen flat-panel TVs, bolstering global awareness of Toshiba’s flat-panel products and technologies, the company said.

Ramirez said Toshiba is still working on U.S. advertising and promotional plans for REGZA, adding that the new brand will be “incorporated into anything that we do – any advertising, any POP materials and any literature.”

According to the announcement from Japan, Toshiba “will promote the new brand worldwide through advertising and marketing activities and exhibitions.”

The company plans to use “REGZA green,” a rich dark green color, in advertising and marketing the new brand. Toshiba hopes the shade will “convey the superiority, authenticity and high-quality of REGZA products,” the company said.

Toshiba said REGZA was derived from the German word “regsam” and connotes vibrant, dynamic qualities. It also captures Toshiba’s intent of “Real Expression Guaranteed by amaZing Architecture,” Toshiba’s advanced picture quality expertise, the company said.

Toshiba has previously used different brand names in marketing TVs in different regions. REGZA is the first unified global brand for Toshiba’s step-up flat-panel TVs.

Toshiba said the global market for large-screen flat panel TVs continues to grow rapidly, citing shipping forecasts for flat-panel TVs 26W inches and larger climbing 110 percent to 32 million units in 2006.

REGZA TVs will feature a minimal design, using a basic black tone “with superfluous decoration smoothed away,” Toshiba said. The look will include clean, uncluttered lines, and simple, high-quality exteriors to help viewers keep their attention on the pictures on screen, the company said.