To help correct what Mitsubishi says is an ongoing complaint among its consumers, the company has launched a line of 16-speaker LCD TVs to simplify the process of integrating quality sound with flat-panel sets.
“This is in response to something we’ve been hearing from our customers, which is how complicated setting up a home theater is,” said Frank DeMartin, vice president of marketing for Mitsubishi Digital Electronics, America. “We tried to come as close to a one-button home theater as we could.”
Mitsubishi also announced it will ship its LaserVue high-definition 65-inch set during the third quarter, with a 73-inch model to follow.
The 149 iSP (Integrated Sound Projector) line comes in 46-inch (LT46149, MSRP $3,299) and 52-inch (LT52149, $3,699) and are expected to ship toward the end of this month. The sets include an easy set-up interface to help consumers gain optimal sound quality and a more advanced set-up for custom installers who want to fine-tune sound for particular room configurations.
“We’re not trying to cannibalize the audio market,” said John Hwang, a Mitsubishi product manager. “This fills a hole for the customer that wants simplification.”
DeMartin said less than five percent of large-panel TVs in the U.S. are sold with additional audio. Mitsubishi, he said, worked with some of its key dealers in designing the new line. The campaign behind the launch will include unique marketing and merchandising tools (to ship in August) to help retailers demonstrate the different between standard TV audio and the new sound projection system. Mitsubishi will also add a large button to the demo sets that consumers on a store’s sales floor can push to activate a demo that highlights the differences.
Demonstrating sets with quality sound could help some retailers, especially those with installation services, to push the new line into secondary rooms or vacation homes, while convincing the customer to set up a higher-end home theater system in the main viewing room, DeMartin said.