FREMONT, CALIF. — AOC is launching this spring two specific lines of LCD TVs catering to the value end of the market, including one line featuring LED edge-lighting.
The company will offer 11 LCD models, including six LED edge-lit models ranging from 19-inch to 32-inch screen sizes and five CCFL backlit models from 22 to 42 inches.
“The key for us this year is the LED line and the feature pack,” said Michael Lien, AOC North America general manager. “LED itself has been a growing sector in the marketplace, and while people have gotten more familiar with those three letters themselves, there are still some challenges with what that technology represents to people, and I think that is really the key. LED delivers a power savings, and a design-in capability that lets us make the panel ultra-thin, while reducing the cabinet size by more than 50 percent, and allowing us to get almost flush to the wall in mounting capability.”
In addition, Lien said AOC is building a time-shift function into select 32- and 42-inch sets to enable users to pause and rewind live TV by capturing programs on embedded memory. That capacity will also be expandable with the addition of a USB storage device.
Recordings are erased when the USB device is disconnected from the TV set. The Time-Shift function works through any USB 2.0 device formatted as FAT.
The feature initially launches in CCFL backlit models, but will be added to a 32- inch LED model later in the year.
Sets in both series will also include a digital photo frame feature that allows digital picture files to be played back on the screen like a photo frame when a USB device carrying the image files is connected to the screen.
Also this year, AOC is adding CEC control capability to HDMI connections, allowing the operation of multiple devices from a single remote control.
Models shipping this spring in the LED line include the 19-inch Le19W062 ($199 suggested retail), 22-inch LE22H067 ($259), 23-inch LE23H062 ($279), and 24- inch LE24H060 ($299) and LE24H067 ($299). A 32-inch LE32H069X (pricing to be announced) will ship later.
The CCFL models are starting to ship now and include the 22-, 24-, 27-, 32- and 42-inch screen sizes.
Most will feature FullHD 1080p resolution.
Lien said that in focusing the line on the small and midsized range AOC will seek to fill a void, where demand is outstripping supply, particularly in LED products.
“Our success and penetration rates in the smaller screen sizes have been very solid, while our expansion into the larger screen sizes will continue,” Lien said.
This year AOC’s sets feature improved image quality using new video-processing technology and 120Hz frame-rate technology in 32-inch and larger models.
Lien said new sets, particularly in the LED line, will have higher color-management control, particularly in color matching and saturation, and adaptive contrast with higher dynamic contrast performance, particular in the LED sets.
On the sales side, Lien said AOC has expanded its sales and marketing organization to better cover the North American market, which should help bring the company closer to the retail customer.
The company is trying to impress on dealers the quality of the manufacturing produced by AOC parent TPV International, based in China.
“While there have been a number of players coming and going in this business, the biggest void that we see from that area of the marketplace is the need for consistency, quality and the ability to deliver on both a national and regional level,” Lien said.
AOC works with large retail partners on a direct-sales basis, but is working with some distributors to handle smaller accounts. The company provides just-in-time delivery and can also ship on a container-load basis, Lien said.
As an OEM manufacturer, the company is also able to work with accounts to supply private-label goods, “but at this point the brand focus is paramount,” he said.
As for brand building, Lien said AOC “works with its partners to develop the exposure within, typically. We touch points in a number of different ways.” In addition to TV, AOC continues to sell LCD PC monitors, using the same sales team. Lien said AOC’s sales volume today is “pretty balanced” between TVs and monitors.
“Our penetration level with IT is pretty significant with regards to share,” Lien said. He said the key goal of the company today is to continue “working with long-term partners in building shelf space that has longevity to it, so that the core values of our organization and partners match.”