Looking to maximize holiday sales for LCD TVs, Sharp announced price cuts on select AQUOS LCD models, and for the first time in several years, plans to run national cable television ads to support the category.
At the same time, Sharp is offering $100 rebates on select AQUOS models in 13-inch, 15-inch and 20-inch screen sizes until Dec. 31, 2002.
Tony Favia, Sharp LCD TV senior marketing manager, said the price reductions were in line with Sharp's marketing schedule.
"We've had a goal to reduce our [LCD TV] pricing by about 15 percent a year, and this was the time of year when we felt we were going to do something and re-evaluate where we were," said Favia.
"The gift-giving concept is something that is becoming more obvious to us. Last year DVD was the hot item and that almost seems passe at this point. So, this year we are thinking that maybe AQUOS will be the hottest gift item."
To underscore that effort, Favia said Sharp would expand its "be sharp" brand advertising campaign with a national television commercial for the holiday season, focused on AQUOS, as the company's new flagship product category.
The 30-second commercial is slated for national cable entertainment, news and sports programming during prime time and weekends. The television commercial highlights the design and versatility of AQUOS LCD TVs to in nearly every room in the home. It will run on such networks as A&E, Bravo, CNBC, Discovery, ESPN, Fox, The History Channel and The Learning Channel.
"We don't feel that we have to match any particular manufacturer in pricing," Favia said, adding that the price adjustment makes Sharp price competitive "with every manufacturer out there. We still lead the marketplace and we will be reinforcing that during the Holidays."
Favia said that over the last several months the 20-inch screen sizes has become the most popular with LCD shoppers.
"More people are opting for the larger screen sizes because people appreciate the picture that our ASV panel provides," he said.
AQUOS-branded Liquid Crystal Televisions use Advanced Super View (ASV) panels featuring Ultra-High Aperture Thin Film Transistors (UHA TFT), which produce very wide viewing angles (170 degrees) and high contrast ratios (500:1).
Prices for Sharp's two 10-inch LCD TVs (models LC-10A3U-S and LC-10A3U-B) dropped $100 to $799.95.
In the B2UA series suggested retail prices for the 13-inch LC-13B2UA (silver) and LC-13B2UB (black) models were cut $200 from $1,199.95 to $999.95. The 15-inch models — LC-15B2UA (silver) and LC-15B2UB (black) — were cut $300 from $1,499.95 to $1,199.95 and the 20-inch models — LC-20B2UA (silver) and LC-20B2UB (black) — were cut $400 from $2,499.95 to $1,999.95.
Pricing in the E-Series is now $100 less expensive than the B2UA series on the 13-inch and 15-inch models and $200 less expensive on the 20-inch models.
E1U series 13-inch models — LC-13E1U (silver), LC-13E1UB (black) and LC-13E1UW (white) — received a $300 price cut to $899.95. The 15-inch LC-15E1U (silver), LC-15E1UB (black) and LC-15E1UW (white) models fell $400 to $1,099.95 and the 20-inch LC-20E1U (silver), LC-20E1UB (black) and LC-20E1UW (white), dropped $700 to $1,799.95.
In the B1U PC Card Slot Series the 15-inch LC-15B1U was cut by $300 to $1,399.95, and the 20-inch LC-20B1U was cut by $500 to $2,199.95.
In the C3U series with subwoofer, the 13-inch LC-13C3U-S (silver) will now ship in December at a $999.95 suggested retail price, while the 15-inch LC-15C3U-S (silver) received a $300 price cut to $1,199.95, and the 20-inch LC-20C3U-S (silver) dropped $500 to $1,999.95.
In widescreen models, the LC-22SV2U (22W-inch) unit received an $800 price cut to $2,999.95 and LC-30HV2U (30W-inch) dropped $1,500 to $5,499.95, respectively.
In other news, Sharp announced that it has selected Genesis Microchip's (Faroudja) DCDi video procession/ inverter technology for its B3 Series Aquos LCD TV line.
Sharp will use Genesis' FLI2310 digital video format converter in the series. Models to incorporate the chip include the LC-20B3, LC-15B3, LC-13B3 and LC-22BV5, all of which are currently available in Japan.
The FLI2310 is a single-chip digital video format converter combining Faroudja's (a Genesis subsidiary) deinterlacing and video enhancement technologies with flexible scaling and aspect ratio conversion.