Mitsubishi Banks on 3D, Laser and Better TV SoundJune 15, 2009 By Nancy Klosek
Mitsubishi announced at last week’s New York City-held CEA Line Shows that it would field a total of eight 3D-ready HDTVs – including what it termed the largest mass-produced 3D television, the 82-inch DLP Model WD-82737.
The company also conducted ongoing demos of its newly rebranded and improved Unisen series of LCD TVs with built-in Integrated Sound Projector (iSP) technology that uses a beam-steering configuration to produce 5.1-channel sound. And it is planning to add 67- and 75-inch screen sizes in its second-generation LaserVue laser TV series, while currently shipping the 65-inch model already introduced.
The company is at full bore in helping dealers promote its products, according to David Naranjo, director of product development. A 53-foot Mitsubishi Mobile Showroom making the rounds across the country carries 3D TVs and a 3D logo wrapping, and a 3D retail fixture merchandising kit is being deployed to several hundred retail locations, he added. The retail fixture, said Frank DeMartin, vice president of marketing, will include a PC server, four pairs of 3D glasses and a retail stand, with a button that consumers hit to view a 3D demo.
The company’s Unisen flat-panel LCD TVs were introduced last year and now total eight models, including a new 40-inch SKU, he said. The new models benefit from improved tonal quality, and models in the higher-ticket Diamond series will include two full-range speakers among the 16-driver speaker configuration for increased SPL and better mid- to low-frequency reproduction. Another soundfield setting on the sets, added this year, called “Music,” enhances the music-only listening experience; there is also a setting that turns the display off while music is playing.
DeMartin said extra effort was expended this year on improving the Unisen line’s sound performance after Mitsubishi research revealed “we really hit a chord with consumers, with this product… It overcomes the three ‘C’s: clutter, components and complication.” Of all iSP buyers in 2008, 40 percent surveyed said they used the sets to replace separate component home theater systems, and 90 percent placed the sets in their primary TV viewing room. Further, over 40 percent of U.S. households listen to music through their TVs, he said.
DeMartin also said that on the future-product-introduction agenda for Mitsubishi is a series of Diamond-line Internet-media-ready TVs, but the company made no partner announcements yet. “The time has come,” he said. “We’ll see a lot of activity in the Internet-connected TV. There’s lots of interest, platforms and possibilities out there.”