New HDTV Makers Enter The US Market Part II-Read The HD Guru Exclusive Interview With GDT’s Peter Weedfald
General Display Technologies (GDT), the second company daring enough to enter the American market this year, will begin selling HDTVs this spring under the GE brand name.Ã‚Â GDT is a joint venture between General Electric and Taiwanese TV maker, Tatung.Ã‚Â The HD Guru interviewed Peter Weedfald, President of GDT North America by email.Ã‚Â You can view the specifications for GEÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s TG-120 and LX 60 model series HDTVs by going to ge-hdtv-specs.pdf
1) Q: What is the intended market positioning of GE HDTV?Ã‚Â Is its price and performance designed to compete against Sony & Samsung, tier two brands like Zenith or tier three vendors like Vizio, and Insignia?
A: Please see the attached GE brand slides ge-slide-one.pdf depicting 3rd party syndicated research view of the strength and value proposition of our GE brand.Ã‚Â We believe consumers also have great brand experience with a variety of high quality, best of breed GE products from GE appliances to GE digital cameras to GE keyboards.Ã‚Â And of course, we believe GE enjoys urbane brand value and respect in reputation and value amongst the business-to-business market.
Having said this, GE HDTVÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s will be positioned in price and performance across a good, better and best series of products (GX, LX and TG) offering superior features and benefits in comparison to current brand performance leaders. The GE brand coupled with excellence in design, performance, features and benefits versus market leaders will be priced just below the current market brand leaders, Samsung and Sony. We have no intention, need or desire to follow 2nd tier brands into the market with purse proud features and or earth scorched pricing.Ã‚Â GE HDTVÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s will deliver on the promise of greater value in both price and performance as compared to the current brand market leaders.
2) Q: What are the most notable differentiating features and or performance of GE HDTV against other brands?
A: Our GE HDTVÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s will offer a raft of much requested, (derived through intensive consumer research: market sensing), market making features to ensure consumers enjoy best of breed picture quality most importantly coupled with: ease of installation, easy I/O, easy wireless audio, ease of use, ease of customization, ease of support and service.Ã‚Â A few of the distinctive and standard features, as an example, across all our GE HDTV LX Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 1080P series of product include:
-Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â SRS True Volume (TV shows and commercials remain at the same volume)
-Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â SRS True Surround XT
-Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Touchpad LED controls
-Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Pause Live TV with USB 2.O flash
-Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â SD Card/USB 2.0 for photo viewing and MP3 playback
-Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Wireless transmitter with matching wireless speaker bar, sub woofer, headset andÃ‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â I-pod products.
-Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Energy Star 3.0 with ambient light sensor
-Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â GE Aftermarket Service
-Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Firmware Upgrade Capability Ã¢â‚¬â€œ fix problems in the home without sending the TV back.
-Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Color Calibrated 6500 K screens for optimized viewing Ã¢â‚¬â€œ TV Programs, Sports, Broadcast Movies, DVD, Blu-ray, and all Computer inputs (HDMI and VGA)Ã¢â‚¬Â¦
-Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Full Ã¢â‚¬Å“Plug and PlayÃ¢â‚¬Â computer monitor capability on all HDMI and VGA inputs for Full HD viewing of HULU and other Internet DTV sources.
3)Ã‚Â Q: What type of distribution channels will GE be found at retail? National chains Best Buy, Sears and regionals?Ã‚Â Warehouse clubs, Home Shopping Network?Ã‚Â Factory direct and Internet?Ã‚Â Others or a combination?Ã‚Â Please specify.Ã‚Â If not yet determined or information is not currently available, when will it be released?
A: In my opinion, it is very important to respect, honor and build a tectonic, axiom relationship with our hard working consumer facing distribution partners.Ã‚Â We will ensure our best competitive channel concord through both fidelity and a rational channel strategy.
First and foremost, GE HDTVÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s will not compete with our channel partners. This simply means we will not sell our GE HDTVÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s direct to consumers on our own web site (our GE HDTV brand showcase) nor will we open retail stores to sell against our channel partners.Ã‚Â This business philosophy means we will never be asked whether we are a competitor or partner in our important work to support and service channels of distribution.
Second, the unvarnished reality, revealed through my channel road trips across America over the past 4 months; a multitude of channel partners (whether direct, distributors, retail, regional, specialty channels, etc) are disappointed and crest fallen regarding the irrational channel strategy of many brand leaders.
With regards to our channel strategy, you may have seen our pre-launch advertising campaign in print within Twice and Dealerscope magazines as well as displayed 24 hours a day at www.Twice.com and www.Dealerscope.com Within this campaign we reveal a stake in the ground date of April 22, 2009, the day we will announce our channel strategy.Ã‚Â In order to secure our best competitive advantage, we will remain hermetic on this subject until this date.
4)Ã‚Â Q: HD GURU has written extensively regarding HDTV warranty and post warranty service.Ã‚Â What is the length and basic terms of the GE warranty and will GDT have its own parts and service facilities as well as an independent warranty service?Ã‚Â Will there be parts and service available post warranty by e GDT (via independent servicers) or only through GDT.Ã‚Â Will GDT be using existing GE nation service and parts network?
A: GE HDTVÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s are warranted for one year, for all parts and labor from the date of purchase.Ã‚Â Further, GE |General Displays and Technologies will honor any extended warranty contract it sells.Ã‚Â We will provide all parts in support of consumer protection laws such as the California Song-Beverly Act and the federal Magnusson-Moss Consumer Protection Act, for seven years from end of product life.Ã‚Â GE | General Displays and Technologies service network will provide all in-warranty service for the consumer warranty including round-trip shipping, at no cost to the consumer, as well as support any out-of-warranty (OOW) service needs, at a negotiated rate with the end-user.Ã‚Â We will also support OOW repairs through our independent warranty service providers in both the USA and Canada.Ã‚Â GE | General Displays and Technologies will be using the services of both the OEM network and the Assurant Solutions on-site third party service network of 1400 technicians and 1100 offices.
5)Ã‚Â Q: When will the product launch and where?Ã‚Â What is the pricing or when will it be released?
A: GE HDTV products will be on the shelf in the spring of this year.Ã‚Â Pricing will be announced through our retail partners and available upon our launch.
6)Ã‚Â Q: Besides equity and branding what is the relationship of GE and GDT.Ã‚Â Does GE have design and engineering input?Ã‚Â Must they approve the designs?Ã‚Â Please specify?
A: We are very fortunate and of course proud to have GE team members working directly, on a daily basis with General Displays and Technologies across each and every business operations, technology, marketing, quality and service touch points.Ã‚Â Our covenant coupled with GEÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s guidance, council, participation and review truly ensures retail partners as well as consumers will enjoy the highest GE brand value proposition.Ã‚Â As you mention in your question, GE has direct equity in this joint venture (49%).Ã‚Â This affords General Displays and Technologies tectonic competitive advantage as we are required and disciplined to adhere to GE brand metrics across all business areas especially within manufacturing, sales, marketing, quality, support and service.
7)Ã‚Â Q:Ã‚Â Why does GDT want to enter the TV market this year in lieu of the current economy and the state of sagging HDTV sales and pricing today?Ã¢â‚¬Â
A: Clearly, the economic maelstrom we are all working through is causing massive disruption for CE manufacturers as well as retailers.Ã‚Â Just this week, Pioneer announced they were exiting the TV business March 2010 (Twice magazine).Ã‚Â Vizio announced they were withdrawing from the plasma TV business.Ã‚Â Other HDTV competitors have reported bleak and new levels of decline in both fiduciary reporting and very sadly in loss of employees.Ã‚Â All of this causes wide crises in confidence and a demand to re-congress entire business models to adapt to a new, highly efficient and more frugal consumer.
Truly, we believe the opportunity to launch GE HDTVÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s, while the market re-constitutes itself is very strong.Ã‚Â Our focus is 100% forward looking and forward acting while many competitors are focused on looking back, re-setting, shedding and changing their business model, products and channel strategies for our new economic realities.
In fact the U.S. Commerce department announced this week that although over sales of electronics through electronics and appliance stores decreased 7.8% for January year over year, there was a substantial 2.6% rise in sales for January of 2009 versus December of 2008 to 8.7 billion dollars.Ã‚Â Hence, while competitive landscapes are disrupted and changing, consumers are voting with their pocketbooks for electronics, even through a rough and tumble economy.Ã‚Â The timing for our launch may indeed be very good.
8)Ã‚Â Q: What are the major differences between the TG-120 series and the LX 60 series (specifically the 42″ 428 and the 46″ 468 in the LX 60 series)
A: Our best, TG series is our 1080p, 120HZ with true Motion Estimation / Motion Compensation (ME/MC) LCD deep green panel HDTV.Ã‚Â Our expectation is this TV will deliver the highest picture quality in the industry with reduced mercury, reduced energy consumption and sharper resolution.Ã‚Â Our better LX 60 series is a 1080P, 60HZ LCD HDTV with mirroring a mirroring feature set.
Questions about the TG120 series (from spec sheets)
9)Ã‚Â What is “deep green” type described in you product spec sheet?Ã‚Â Does it refer to the edge color of the bezel, energy saving s or something else?
A: Deep green refers to the panel and its environmental friendly nature.Ã‚Â It features very low levels of mercury, delivers 30% additional savings in power consumption as well as being 30% thinner and lighter, which would decrease costs of shipping-fuel for our environment (realizing a much lower carbon footprint).Ã‚Â An additional benefit of this panel is an increased contrast ratio, delivering a highly competitive, leading picture quality. The panel itself is state of the art with respect to reduced power consumption.Ã‚Â Add in the ambient light sensor and power consumption is reduced even further (another 30%).
10) Q: What types of panels are being used?Ã‚Â IPS, SPVA other?
A: All current panels are VA type.
11) Q: I assume the LX60-228LED uses a LED backlight or edge light. Is this correct?Ã‚Â What type LED, RGB or white?
A: This TV uses a white LED backlight module assembly.
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