Rear-Pro Icon Mitsubishi Boosts LCD Flat-Panel Focus
Mitsubishi, with its sights set squarely on 1,080p, said it will roll out nine DLP rear-projection HDTVs and eight LCD flat-panel HDTVs through late summer. “Our focus is on large DLP and on premium LCD,” said the company’s vice president of marketing, Frank DeMartin.
The company’s focus is also on “big.” The company’s 2007-08 lineup consists of 57-, 65- and 73-inch DLP models with three SKUs each in the top-rank Diamond Series, mid-tier Medallion Series and regular Mitsubishi Series. LCD offerings consist of three models in the 133 and one model in the 134 60Hz series, and two models each in the 120Hz 144 and 244 series.
Mitsubishi, said DeMartin, achieved a 22 percent market share in 2006 for 1,080p DLP TVs 60 inches and over. The company’s target for 2007 is a 25 percent share.
In LCD, said DeMartin, Mitsubishi grabbed a three percent share of 1,080p business in 2006. Its 2007 goal is seven percent.
“Last year, we said 65[-inch] was the new 50[-inch]. This year, 73 is the new 65,” said DeMartin, explaining how flat panels’ percolation down to mass levels—due in part to the presence of 104 TV brands in the current marketplace—has influenced tier-one manufacturers to circumvent the price compression afflicting smaller screens by up-sizing their offerings. Mitsubishi will still offer a single 40-inch LCD SKU, but its emphasis will remain on larger sizes, he said. “We’re the premium alternative in LCD,” said DeMartin.
That doesn’t mean DLP rear-projection is no longer a focus for the company. “There’s still lots of business to be done in DLP microdisplay,” said DeMartin. “Dealers walking away from this business are walking away from revenues and profits.” He cited statistics showing a 28 percent growth in 60-inch-and-over industry-wide DLP TV sales in 2007 over the same period in 2006 to bolster his claim. “We’re fairly bullish on microdisplay sales for 2008 and 2009,” said DeMartin; Mitsubishi stats show that 60-inch-and-over sales of microdisplay rear-projection TVs reached 665,000 units last year, and for 2007 would hover around the 855,000-unit mark.