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Day 6 - IFA International

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PRODUCT TRENDS THE BIG PICTURE IN HOME CINEMA QUAlITy, RElIABIlITy AND AffORDABIlITy DEfINE MITSUBISHI'S 2009 lINE-UP Home cinema is increasingly being seen as a way of 'cocooning'. It is also true that, to fully experience a movie, nothing beats a video projector. Added to this, in today's turbulent economic climate, consumers are tending to seek the reassurance of well-known brands. One such name is Mitsubishi Electric, which comes to IFA with its nextgeneration range of home-cinema projectors. Richard Barnes asks Akihiko (Spike) Odakura, Manager of Visual Information Systems at Mitsubishi Electric Corporation's overseas marketing and sales department, to identify the major trends in the home-cinema market. The fast-moving trend in the flat-screen TV market is that the consumer is shifting to Full HD 1080p from the HD- Ready 720p and I can see the same trend happening in the home-cinema frontprojector market. It's not easy to predict the market these days, but I believe that Full HD will account for the major part of home-cinema projector sales by Christmas. What are your projections for the next year? We believe the market for 1080p will grow and that we will continue to sell more projectors in this category. It's encouraging that the market for projectors in general is growing – and it seems it will continue to do so. What differentiates Mitsubishi's projectors from the rest of the field? Our mantra has not changed for decades: to provide superb image quality and high reliability at an affordable price. Are sales channel changing in the European market? Yes, the channel portfolio is changing constantly. When a market is expanding rapidly, demand is generated through the easy-to-access channels, namely the big consumer retailers and the internet. And the cheaper the product, the faster the 'box-shifting' movement – and this will be the main driver when it comes to increasing demand. So it's important to have suitable products for the mass market, such as the 720p, which has been priced between €699-€799. But while Mitsubishi has always offered a range of entry products, our main focus remains on the higher quality market. However, we will continue to differentiate our product range to satisfy the two ends of the market. So you will not be seeing any quality Mitsubishi projectors being sold in the mainstream retail market any time soon. What advantages do the specialist retailers offer you? Our customers are looking for quality products, so we offer training and a lot of back-up material to our retailers. While our training is not deeply technical, we are very conscientious of the need to give retailers the knowledge they need to deal with customers efficiently. How is your after-sales service set up in Europe? Rather than having a centralised European office, we think it's better to have an office in each country, which means we can deal with repairs etc. very quickly. We pride ourselves on having a fast turnaround. Tell us about your product line-up for IFA 2009... Our IFA stand is completely dedicated to home-cinema projectors. It consists of one serious theatre, where we can demonstrate the latest movie content, supported by Paramount. But our stand is not just a product demo area – we also want to give our visitors something different. So we always have some popular movie stars to attract the public. Last year, our line-up included Spider-Man and Superman. And this year's star turns will be equally impressive – but you'll have to come to our stand to find out more. As for the product, we have upgraded the HC6500 to HC6800, enhancing brightness without compromising contrast level. The trend among 'ordinary' home-cinema fans is towards more brightness, since most do not have a dark-room theatre. With the entry-level range, we are introducing the HC3800, which is based on singlechip DMD technology. Our flagship HC7000 model will remain as it is, since it is well designed enough to satisfy even the most serious home-cinema freaks. Frequent changes are not always the best way to satisfy customers. Why are you changing to DLPs (digital light pprocessing)? Our 720p product range was all based on DLP technology. We have long been looking for the 1080p DMD chip – and the latest generation chip has enabled us to develop an entry-level 1080p projector. I would like to emphasise, however, that Mitsubishi is one of the few manufacturers that has a strong product range based on various technologies: LCD, DLP and LED. As for the new DLP-based HC3800, we are not only targeting movie buffs but also gamers and the home-party market, where a table-top product is easier and more convenient. We are not looking to be the cheapest, but to offer the best performance and quality in the price range. We see the home-cinema market as a combination of emotion and cuttingedge technology. But all the emotion appears on the screen. Once you have installed a projector, you don't want to be bothered by it. Hall 7.2A / Stand 101 IFA International • Wednesday, 9 th September 2009 21

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