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Samsung Bows ‘Affordable’ HDTV Line

New lower price points on Samsung’s just-unveiled 2002 DynaFlat direct view DTV monitor lines are expected to help analog big-tube TV customers make the digital leap.

John Lavoie, Samsung TV products national marketing manager, said the company will offer a three-tier line of DTV direct-view models this year, starting with some of the lowest prices in the industry. The entry 27-inch 4:3 DynaFlat HDTV monitor (TXM2796HF) this year will carry a $799 suggested retail price. The line will also include a 32-inch 4:3 (TXM3296HF) model and a 30W-inch 16:9 (TXM3096WHF) model, both priced at $1,199 each.

“The reason for the price move was that Samsung is trying to accelerate the transition from analog to digital, and push our company to digital,” Lavoie said. “This is not a play to lower the price point in the market, it is more a play to change an analog customers into digital customers and benefit from all that entails. At the same time, Samsung gains new opportunities for sales of add-on digital products.”

The so-called 96 series, which recently started shipping to dealers, is billed as “the best first step up from analog,” and includes such features as Total DSP, Digital ProChip Plus and Defining Filter to process standard definition signals to the digital quality 480p format. Also added are a 20-watt audio system, and two sets of HD component video inputs.

The step-up 97 series, which is scheduled to ship this month, will also include a 27-inch 4:3 model (TSM2797HF, $899), a 32-inch 4:3 model (TSM3297HF, $1,299) and a 30W-inch 16:9 model (TXM3097WHF, $1,299). The 32-inch model includes two NTSC-tuner split-screen/picture-in-picture functions.

In addition to the 96 series features, the line offers 3/2 pull down processing for smoother conversion of film-based 24fps video sources to a 30fps progressive scan video format. Also added is BBE audio enhancement, which among other things boosts high and low range frequencies to produce dialog that’s easier to understand.

The flagship line will carry Samsung’s premium Tantus label and distribution. Lavoie said the lineup is tentatively called Neo as a design name for its darker metallic cabinet and slimmer bezel look.

“The line uses bottom-firing speakers, so the cabinet width is much slimmer than competitive models,” he said. Also added is a rear-firing subwoofer, and an optional matching stand with double glass shelves for VCR or DVD placement.

Neo models include the 27-inch TXM2798HF ($999), the 32-inch TXM3298HF and the 30W-inch 16:9 ($1,499 each).