S² Bows Helios Line, Adds Luce Models

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S² Technologies, which handles the Luce TV brand for the custom home theater specialty market, has launched a more mainstream brand of flat-panel TVs in the United States under the Helios trademark.

Sales executives from the Sunrise, Fla.-company recently showed both Luce and the first U.S. Helios products at CEDIA Expo here.

The company began distribution of the new "mass merchant" Helios flat-panel TV line Sept. 1, through the Costco warehouse club and other stores, and is currently looking to expand distribution with other key dealers, said Mary Banmiller, Luce sales and marketing director.

The line has been designed for high value "at very competitive price points," and affords more flexible distribution requirements than the high-end Luce line, she said. At press time, S² said it was "adjusting" pricing on Helios products, and would not release suggested retails.

Currently, the Helios line offers seven flat-panel models, including plasma display panels in 42W-inch, 50W-inch and a 60W-inch screen sizes, and a pair of 4:3 LCD TVs in the 15-inch and 20-inch screen sizes.

All models will scale either ATSC or NTSC signals to fit the native resolution of the panel, and all have integrated NTSC tuners. Plasma models add dual-tuner PIP functions.

Banmiller said her company is capable of working with most distribution channels, handling both direct sales with a national rep force and two-step using key distributors.

Meanwhile, S² also used CEDIA to unveil nine new products for the custom high-end Luce (pronounced Loo-chay) line.

New products include Luce LCD TVs in the 12.1-inch 22W-inch and 30W-inch screen sizes, and HD-level plasma panels in the 42W-inch and 61W-inch screen sizes. Also showed was a portable wireless Web pad for TV and Internet viewing on a 10-inch LCD screen and "an HDTV server," which is essentially a Pentium III/IV-based Windows PC designed to receive NTSC and ATSC TV signals and store recorded programs to an internal hard drive.

Key new LCD models included the LCTV-2201GB, which is a HD-level 22W-inch widescreen model with W-SXGA (1,600 by 1,024) native resolution (1,600 by 1,200 or 480p, 720p HDTV via integrated scaler). It adds tempered glass, optical contrast/protective front filter, and a black textured steel case.

The LCTV-2210S is also a 22W-inch 16:9 LCD TV monitor but with 854 by 480 native resolution (1,600 by 1,200 or 480p, 720p HDTV via integrated scaler.) It adds DVI, RS-232 and 450 cdm2 brightness and 400:1 contrast.

The PDTV-4203A-Mark II is an upgraded 42W-inch fanless plasma TV monitor with W-VGA (853 by 480) native resolution, HD component video input and RS-232 control signal input.

The PDTV-4220A is a next generation 42W-inch PDP with an integrated NTSC tuner, 3:2 pull-down, motion adaptive video processor, YPbPr, and YCpCr dual inputs and RS-232. An optional matching swivel table stand is also available.

PDTV-6100A is a 61W-inch plasma monitor with dual tuner NTSC, 720p (1,365 by 768) native resolution, HD component video input, RS-232 and a brushed aluminum cabinet.

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