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Samsung's big-screen plans for CES

Electronics giant rolls out 102-inch high-def plasma TV for demonstration purposes only but plans to offer an 80-incher this year.

Samsung has a bigger picture in mind when it comes to selling consumer electronics products in 2005.

The company plans to demonstrate a 102-inch plasma screen TV at this week's in Las Vegas. It also will unveil plans to bring to market a number of big-screen televisions, including an 80-inch plasma screen TV and another with a 57-inch liquid crystal display, as well as several new music players and DVD players or recorders.

The company, which has been working to make a bigger name for itself in electronics, will attempt to woo consumers by offering televisions with bigger screens and better pictures and, at the opposite end of the spectrum, smaller music players that run longer on their batteries. The products, it believes, will help position it as a top brand for consumer electronics, an executive said.

Although the transition between traditional cathode ray tube TVs and newer, flat-screen TVs such as plasma screens will take time, Samsung's latest gear falls into some of the hottest-selling consumer electronics market segments.

Samsung's 2005 102-inch plasma screen demonstration, along with its plans to ship an 80-inch plasma screen and a 57-inch LCD screen TV, underscore its efforts to be a technological leader in the fast-growing digital television space, said Jim Sanduski, vice president of marketing for the Visual Display Products Group at Samsung Electronics America.

"A few years ago, you could have called Samsung a fast follower...but now, the difference is that Samsung is a leader, and we're no longer looking to others in terms of where the market is going," Sanduski said. "We're trying to lead the market in directions that we think (it) will respond to."

Although he acknowledges that Samsung may not sell large numbers of 57-inch LCD TVs, for example, the company does expect to sell many of its smaller 23-inch, 26-inch, 32-inch, 40-inch and even 46-inch LCD models, Sanduski said. It expects the same from its plasma TV and projector lines as well.

The company will kick off its TV blitz in March, when it launches the first of several new LCD TVs models. The first three, its 32-inch LNR328W, 40-inch LNR408D and 46-inch LNR460D, will sell for $3,499, $4,999 and $12,999, respectively. Its 57-inch wide-screen LCD TV, the LNR570D, will cost $17,999 and come out in June. Samsung says that along with larger sizes and other new features, the sets offer faster response rates, which allow them to show fast-moving images such as car racing footage without blurring.

Samsung plans to deliver its HPR5072, a 50-inch high-definition plasma TV priced at $6,999, a little later. The set, designed to become the main attraction in living rooms, will offer features such as a 175-degree viewing angle. It will hit the market in April, the company said.

Samsung's largest TV, however, won't hit the market until May. Pricing on the 80-inch high-definition set, dubbed HPR8072, is still to be determined, the company said in a statement. However, it will offer features such as a resolution of 1,920 pixels by 1,080 pixels and 68.7 billion displayable colors.

Samsung will also offer a number of big-screen, rear-projection TV sets, using Texas Instruments' DLP, or digital light projector, chip. Its 67-inch HLR6768W DLP TV will cost $6,999 and offer a resolution of 1,920 pixels by 1,080 pixels. Other DLP models will range in size from 46 inches to 70 inches, Sanduski said.

Although Samsung's CES display is heavy with big-screen TVs, it's also working on tiny portable music players and several other consumer electronics devices, including new DVD recorders.

Its YH-925 music player, based around a 20GB hard drive, will play Windows Media and MP3 music files, and show pictures on a 1.8-inch display. It also comes with a built-in FM radio tuner and voice recorder. The YH-925 will cost $349 and hit the market this month, Samsung said in a statement.

Samsung this month will also offer its YP-MT6 line of slim, flash memory-based digital audio players. The tiny music machines can run continuously for 42 hours on a single AA battery. They will come out this month and range in capacity from 256MB to 1GB and in price from $119 to $199.99, Samsung said.

In addition, the company will offer the YP-T7, a flash memory-based music player with a built-in color display. Two models shipping this month that don't yet have price tags will offer either 512MB or 1GB of storage.

A dual-disc DVD recorder will be among Samsung's other CES debuts. The DVD-TR520, which will cost $499 when it ships in the third quarter, will enable quick DVD copying, Samsung said in a statement.