This Spring and early Summer has been an exciting time for TV introductions. So far, Pioneer, Mitsubishi,Sony, Sharp, JVC, and Toshiba have announced and have or will start shipping 2007 TV displays. In the coming weeks, we will see new models from Philips, HP, and others on the horizon. I was surprised to read this week that Dell is retreating from the TV display business by stopping to sell its own branded flat-panel TVs. Dell will continue to sell other brands, but not it's own.
So, that's why I'm saying that "TVs are busting out all over" to paraphrase Rogers and Hammerstein from Carousel. In the last couple of weeks, journalists were visited by Monster Cable on the virtues of HDMI; Sharp Electronics had a roundtable discussion for journalists updating brand and product information. As well, Sony introduced 14 new 1080p HDTVs. Last week saw Philips come to NYC to show off all of its 2007 products from electric toothbrushes to high-definition displays. Philips is somewhat unique with its displays as it's the only company to include their proprietary feature -- AmbiLight on its line of flat-panel displays. It is unique by offering mood lighting that surrounds the frame or bezel of the television. While not for everyone, it can certainly enhance the mood of the image on-screen.
This week's Featured How To is a direct outgrowth of my meeting with Monster Cable a few weeks ago. Monster has started a campaign about all HDMI is not created equal. They brought their engineers to NYC (along with representatives from SimPlay HD, Dolby, and HDMI licensing) to meet with the press and offer very specific demonstrations on the validity of their claims that there are differences in HDMI cables. Using test equipment supplied by Tektronics, it was clear that there are differences in HDMI cables. So, check out the Featured How To this week by Noel Lee, who the CEO and founder of Monster Cable, and an engineer in his own right. It was certainly enlightening.
Sharp Electronics at its annual roundtable for the press talked about various items. Sharp is starting to assemble panels in Mexico now for quicker delivery of products. A second plant is slated to open in July with a capacity of 200,000 units/month. Sharp is now assembling all of the parts of the LCD module in Mexico prior to assembling the finished TV. So, going forward, only the glass panel will still come from its K2 factory in Japan. According to Sharp, this reduces manufacturing time by one month from nine weeks). By shifting assembly to Mexico, it allows Sharp's K2 plant to enter phase 3 of its operations. Currently K2 produces 60, 000 glass substrates per month, but by 2008, K2 will produce 90,000 glass substrates per month.
In other Sharp news, we may be seeing its first Blu-ray Disc player this coming September at C.E.D.I.A. C.E.D.I.A., which stands for Custom Electronic Design and Installation, will hold its annual Expo from September 5th through September 9th in Denver, CO. At the roundtable, Sharp announced its partnership with Universal Studios, which raised some discussion about possible involvement with HD DVD. However, Sharp quickly nipped that thought in the bud by saying that it was not factor in its marketing partnership with Universal Studios, and that it's firmly entrenched in the BD camp.
Next week I'll talk about Philips and other manufacturers coming to NYC. So, stay tuned!