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Samsung Introduces 1,080p DLP Models

Samsung revealed it will ship in June its long-awaited 1,080p DLP rear-projection HDTV sets to complement a full line of 720p offerings, during press briefings at the Home Entertainment Show, here.

The 1080p DLP sets, which were slated to ship back in November, will expand a growing line of DLP rear-projection HDTV offerings for 2005. All models this year will integrate ATSC tuning and most also add digital CableCARD slots. The overall line will feature two basic classes of products for mainstream and A/V specialty accounts.

The 720p models in Samsung’s 67 series will include the 42W-inch ($2,499 suggested retail price), 46W-inch ($2,699), 50W-inch ($2,999), 56W-inch (3,299) and 61W-inch ($3,699) screen sizes. The 68 series, for specialty distribution, will include 1,080p models in the 50W-inch ($4,000), 56W-inch ($4,499), 61W-inch (4,799), 67W-inch ($6,199) and 71W-inch (due in late summer at a $6,799) screen sizes.

Most step-up models will also include TV Guide On Screen interactive program guides and IEEE-1394 with DTCP inputs. Additionally, many step-up models will feature improved light engines with better contrast performance and will add a second HDMI/HDCP input.

Samsung expects about 70 percent of its DLP business to come from the 720p models, said Steve Panosian, Samsung’s DLP marketing director.

A key screen size for Samsung this year will be its entry 720p 42W-inch model, which features a slim-design cabinet that will fit many existing armoires. Additionally, the set will be priced to keep a step ahead of plasma panels.

“We expect the street price for the 42W-inch model to hit around $2,300, and, with various promotions by the end of the year, we think the street price will be well below $1,999. That’s key for getting the next tier of consumers who are looking at $1,500 and just need one more reason to jump up to $2,000.”

Meanwhile, Samsung will distribute its DLP design lines by class of trade. For example, models with a pedestal base design and all 67 series DLP models will be open to national distribution this year, including national and regional A/V retail chains, TV appliance chains and distributors.

Models in the 68 design series will be directed at Best Buy, select TV appliance chains and AVAD distributing.

Samsung will also offer a 78 series of 1,080p models with a different cosmetic style in the 50W-inch ($4,000), 56W-inch ($4,499), 61W-inch ($4,799), and 71W-inch ($6,799) screen sizes. These will be offered to AVB and Pro Group dealers and select A/V specialty dealers.

Derivative DLP models featuring 2004 styling cosmetics will be offered in a 56 series for mass merchants and warehouse clubs. This series will include 50W-inch and 56W-inch models, and possibly a 61W-inch model later in the year. These models have ATSC tuning but omit CableCARD slots.

Jim Sanduski, Samsung’s visual media products marketing VP, said that because other manufacturers have recently dropped out of the HDTV CRT rear-projection television business, Samsung has decided again to add CRT-based rear-projection models to its national distribution program.

Sanduski said Samsung will offer two models in the 43W-inch ($1,200 suggested retail) and 47W-inch ($1,300) screen sizes, while reserving a 52W-inch model for “sheltered distribution.” The sets are slated to ship in May.

All three models will incorporate ATSC tuning but will not add digital CableCARD slots.

In digital direct view, Samsung will continue to carry only fully integrated ATSC models (without CableCARD capability), and will introduce in May its first SlimFit direct-view model offering a 30W-inch screen size ($999 suggested retail). The unit features a slimmed down cabinet with a reduced footprint.

In the third quarter, Samsung will ship a 26W-inch SlimFit unit, followed by a 27-inch 4:3 version in the fourth quarter.

All plasma models this year feature built-in ATSC tuners and CableCARD slots. Screen sizes include a 42W-inch EDTV model, a 42W-inch HD model and a 50W-inch HD model. Later in the year, the company will add a 63W-inch model and an 80W-inch 1080p set.

In LCD, Samsung is carrying models in 15-inch, 17-inch and 20-inch 4:3 screen sizes with EDTV resolution. HD models also will be offered in 23W inches, 26W inches, 32W inches, 40W inches, 46W inches and 57W inches.