According to Sony, strong picture performance, a popular screen size and a reasonable price point contributed to making the KE42TS2 the top-selling plasma display panel on market researcher firm The NPD Group's 2003-2004 sales list.
The strong popularity of the model kept Sony on top of the highly competitive plasma display market during the year, and helped Sony take two out of the top three top-selling plasma models in 2003/2004.
According to NPD, which tracks sell-through volume of consumer electronics products by member retailers, the KE42TS2 commanded top share of plasma retail dollar volume at $85,525,653, or 9.9 percent, between June and May. The second-ranked product was Samsung's SPN4235, which had a 4.7 percent share at $40,236,833.
The sister panel to the KE42TS2 — Sony's 32W-inch KE32TS2 — also finished strongly in the NPD ranking, taking the third spot with dollar volume of $40,224,499, or 4.7 percent share.
Key features in the KE42TS2 included HDTV capability with 1024 by 1024 native pixel resolution, a 42W-inch 16:9 screen size, a DVI with HDCP input, a 43-percent improved brightness (peak) level, a 1000:1 contrast ratio and built-in NTSC TV tuner.
The unit also included Sony's Digital Pixel Generator System, offering pixel-by-pixel interlace to progressive-scan conversion, CineMotion Reverse 3:2 pull-down technology , built-in stereo speakers and TruSurround sound with SRS 3D audio effect.
In addition to delivering strong high-definition picture performance and clean contemporary styling, Sony's product market managers said the TS series was popular because it presented an unusual integrated design approach.
"Sony's TS Series was the first all-in-one plasma television to incorporate such features as integrated speakers, a pedestal [stand] and [NTSC] TV tuner," said Earl Martin, Sony's TV marketing group product marketing manager. "Up until its introduction, most other models on the market were primarily monitors.
"As the second generation, the KE42TS2 kept its innovative design, including the silver frame bezel that compliments any environment with its sleek design."
Martin said the product succeed with "typical price moves and spiffs," and did not require any unusually strong promotional incentives or price cuts.
"With a superior picture performance, this model has maintained a premium in the market because of the added Sony value," Martin said.
The product also benefited from a fairly broad distribution approach, with top-selling accounts including big-box stores such as Best Buy, Circuit City, and Sears, and power national and regional chains such as The Good Guys, Tweeter and P.C. Richards. As for the next model year, Sony will complement the KE42TS2 with the KE42XS910.
Other contenders for the top-seller in the 2004/2005 model year will include the new XS955 models, which launch in the September through October time frame. These models will feature Sony's WEGA Engine 3, a 100-watt 2.1 Dolby Digital audio system, and ATSC and CableCARD HD tuning.
Top 10 Plasma TVs
Dollar sales at retail, June 2003 – May 2004