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Westinghouse Digital Expands LCD Lines

Recently in town to discuss the acceleration of sales in his company’s LCD-TV lines, Douglas Woo, CEO of Westinghouse Digital, said his company next plans to expand its flat-panel TV assortment through the addition of large-screen LCD “monitor-only” displays.

The new SKUs, which will be added to previously launched LCD TVs with integrated NTSC tuning, will complement the company’s first desktop PC monitors, which were unveiled recently.

Standard LCD PC monitors include the 17-inch LCM17v2 ($249 estimated retail price) and the 19-inch LCM-19v1 ($359, available now in Best Buy) 4:3 models. That line has been expanded to include the 15-inch LCM-15v1 ($189, available at Best Buy) 4:3; the 17W-inch LCM-17w1 ($299, bundled with the Mac mini, only at Best Buy) 16:9; and 27W-inch 16:9 models. A 19W-inch 16:9 monitor is slated to ship in the fall.

Meanwhile, the company is expanding its LCD television offerings with the 37W-inch LVM37w1 ($2,299) and 42W-inch LVM42w1 16:9 HD LCD video monitors (omitting both NTSC and ATSC tuners), which will be positioned in television retail showrooms.

In total the Westinghouse Digital television line this year will include: the current 17-inch LTV-17v1 ($399) and LTV-20 20-inch ($549) 4:3 models, and high-definition models in the 19W-inch LTV-19w3 ($549); the 27W-inch LTV-27w2 ($999); the 30W-inch LTV-30w2 ($1,199, currently selling at Best Buy and Tweeter); and the 32W-inch LTV-32w1 ($1,599) LCD TV monitors. All include NTSC analog tuners.

Woo said that while the lines have been positioned for different applications, the products were actually designed to provide multiple desktop solutions. PC monitor products will perform equally well in an office or a living room or bedroom.

“We’re giving retailers flexibility in how they want to merchandise access to content,” said Woo, explaining that Westinghouse Digital’s PC monitor line could easily be pitched at a cable or satellite DTV customer looking for an aggressive price point.

Woo pointed out the new large-screen 37W-inch and 42W-inch LCD monitors will comply with the Federal Communications Commission’s ATSC tuner mandate because they omit NTSC tuning, making them true monitor products.

“But it’s not only for the tuner mandate,” said Woo. “It’s also the convergence that’s occurring on desktops linking together the PC monitor and TV worlds. We will have both loaded product and product that is simpler. Our goal from the very beginning has been to mainstream. You don’t mainstream by loading everything in and hitting only high-end consumers.”

To accommodate a wide range of uses, the Westinghouse Digital monitors include various input options, including HD component video and DVI.

Most importantly, the monitors will permit an even more aggressive entry retail price.

“The price points will be different because without the tuners and related stuff jammed into the device we can be more aggressive on the price for the display,” said Woo.

Meanwhile, Westinghouse Digital has significantly expanded its retail distribution over the past year, Woo said. The company now distributes to over 2,000 stores, including Best Buy, May Department Stores and 10 out of 12 NATM dealers, among others.

Woo said the success can be attributed to Westinghouse Digital’s “commitment to mainstreaming the product, giving channel partners forward information on product pricing and positioning, and channel price protection policy.”

“We serve as a flagship now, because other people have to reconcile their positions to what we are doing,” said Woo. “In part, that is because we are so widely distributed and we are so aggressive.”