LONG BEACH, CALIF. — A strategy that saw Mitsubishi Digital Electric America (MDEA) shift total production of HDTV-upgradeable displays to those sporting a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio helped the company ride the onset of rocky economic conditions and pace the industry in DTV sales, executives announced at the firm’s dealer meeting here.
MDEA’s Yoji Otani said company sales were up 30 percent in 2000, while its volume of 16:9 models increased 350 percent. This resulted from the corporate parent’s “ability to look ahead into the future, to establish a distinct identity for our products,” Otani reported.
In evidence of this claim, Max Wasinger, MDEA sales and marketing VP, cited NPD Intelect market research that showed Mitsubishi commanded two-thirds of the 16:9 U.S. business in 2000.
Wasinger stated that MDEA was able to stay ahead of its competitors by ensuring supply met dealer demand. The company increased HDTV-upgradeable production at its Mexicali plant, and is now catching up on orders for its previously delayed ATSC/DirecTV HD set-top decoder box, Wasinger said.
Although the company expanded its retail distribution base, Wasinger stressed that the company’s distribution strategy continues to focus on value-added retailers who know how to “demonstrate and present products properly.”
Bob Perry, MDEA marketing VP, said market conditions are promising for further growth in 2001, even if the economy continues to sputter over the first half of the year. Perry said industry sales to dealers of DTV displays recently topped one million units, while DTV set-top decoders have hit the 100,000 mark.
He added that more than 70 percent of American households now have access to a digital broadcast, and the remaining inter-industry issues stalling the DTV transition, such as digital copy protection, “will be ironed out.”
While expecting some Hollywood studios and broadcasters to continue “posturing” to have 5C for broadcasting, “Congress will not allow it,” he predicted.