Toshiba's Ramirez Ready For Next Phase

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IRVINE, CALIF.

— Heading for Atlanta to attend 2010 CEDIA Expo, Toshiba’s Scott Ramirez shared with TWICE an update on his company’s restructuring and move into the Toshiba America Information Systems (TAIS) unit here, and shared details on the plans to market its first 3D TVs this fall.

Ramirez, who was among a handful of executives who have relocated from Wayne, N.J., to new offices in Irvine, Calif., said that while life inside Toshiba may be very different from the past, the core marketing direction, distribution strategy and plans for both mainstream and higherend Cinema-series products remains very much the same, with the exception of Cell TV, which is also to be transformed from an expensive flagship technology statement into advanced — yet more affordable — products for the future.

Last week TWICE interviewed Ramirez from his Irvine headquarters:

TWICE:

How is the realignment into TAIS going to affect the way you go to market with CE products?

Ramirez:

In regard to our dealers, this unification isn’t going to affect our go-to-market strategy at all. However, as we move forward, it is going to enable us to provide superior products and enhanced dealer support


TWICE:

How would you define Toshiba’s market strategy for TV and video products today, and how has that changed from what you were doing two or three years ago?

Ramirez:

A few years ago Toshiba was a very strong player, and in fact industry leader, in projection TV and direct-view TV. We are now clearly a player in flat panel, and are working on becoming a driving force as digital convergence finally becomes an industry reality. As we move forward, our trifecta will be beautiful design, unbeatable picture quality, and state-of-the-art convergence that is both fun and easy.


TWICE:

Internet Protocol TVs and source devices have started to make strong inroads into the market. How do you see the new company structure under TAIS helping in this new direction?

Ramirez:

We will definitely leverage the strength of our PC division to create more integrated products. With a history of strong PC and TV engineering, Toshiba is in the best possible position to combine existing engineering equities and lead in connectivity. Our goal is not to add technology for technology sake, but to add usable functionality that improves our consumer’s lives. Exactly how that comes to fruition, you will see at CES and beyond.

TWICE:

Where do independent and CEDIA channel dealers fit into that plan?

Ramirez:

Independents and installers remain very important to Toshiba. These are the people that can clearly explain the benefits of new technology, and create a complete, compelling customer experience. That adds true Toshiba's Ramirez Ready For Next Phase value, and these relationships will grow to be even more important as we move forward.

TWICE:

And mass merchants and warehouse clubs?

Ramirez:

We are not changing our current distribution plans for 2010. TWICE: At CES, you announced plans to market later this year Toshiba’s Cell TV, bringing 3D and other advanced capabilities to the line. What are your plans for that product now? Ramirez: Toshiba is committed to bringing 3D and other advanced technologies to market, but the actual product plan is being adjusted. As you may have read, Toshiba announced CEVO at IFA. CEVO stands for Cell Evolution, and is a method of bringing Cell functionality to consumers at more competitive retails. I can’t elaborate now, but you will see more from us in 2011.


TWICE:

What is your new 3DTV strategy is for 2010 and beyond? What will Toshiba be unveiling at the CEDIA Expo this week?

Ramirez:

We are now announcing our new WX800 Cinema series. In addition to incredible cosmetic design and full Internet connectivity, these models include our enhanced 3D with 3D Resolution+ to virtually eliminate cross-talk and increase 3D sharpness. As we move into 2011, you will see a strong expansion of the use of 3D. Our offering will include unique Toshiba 3D enhancement technologies. In fact, you may have seen some announcements on our No Glasses 3D technology, which is one possible future.

TWICE:

What is your strategy for 3D Blu-ray?

Ramirez:

We are also now announcing the BDX3000 3D Blu-ray player. It is the perfect companion to the WX800 Cinema series. In the next few months you will see promotions that tie together the WX800, BDX3000 and Toshiba active 3D glasses.

Ramirez Bio

Experience:

A 25-year CE industry executive, Scott Ramirez was named television and digital home entertainment marketing and product management VP following the merger of the former Toshiba America Consumer Products into Toshiba America Information Systems this summer.

Ramirez joined Toshiba as product management director and then moved on to become Toshiba’s marketing director. As marketing VP, his responsibilities include product P&L management with such tasks as market analysis, product planning and positioning, PSI control, pricing and promotions. He is an active member of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), having served on several industry committees, and for the past four years he has been a CEA video board member.

Ramirez has also held management positions with Panasonic and Hitachi.

Education:

He has an economics degree from Rutgers University.

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