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  • IFA International • Monday, 31st August 2010

Special Feature Setting the Bar High Special Feature on the Success of Toshiba’s CELL REGZA LCD TV in Japan… on the dawn of its launch in Europe IFA International’s senior editorial staff recently paid a visit to Toshiba’s Tokyo headquarters where top Toshiba marketing staff went back over the past year’s success for Cell TV in the Land of the Rising Sun. Selling for around 10,000 Euros in Japanese retail outlets, the 55-inch Cell TV has attracted a very high-end kind of buyer, but the effect of having such a TV in the stores has placed Toshiba on a pedestal as a true premium brand when it comes to TV technology. According to European Marketing Manager Sascha Lange, present at the Japanese meeting, “Here Feature In Japan, Toshiba is the number two flat panel brand, with 29.7% of the overall TV market share according to a recent survey by GfK* 1 . In another public survey, 85% of those questioned know the REGZA brand, while 65%* 2 of people surveyed in that country already are aware of the “Cell REGZA” trade name. Indeed, with the bells and whistles around the introduction of the Cell REGZA in Japan, the company’s market share, as well as overall awareness of brand quality has markedly improved. (eds: in Japan), the starting point was quite high, but in Europe, in terms of how our brand is perceived is not the same as it is in the Japanese market.” At a press conference in Las Vegas at the beginning of the year, European management announced very ambitious plans for the taking of market share here, so it is evident that this being the case, the brand will be announcing some major marketing initiatives in line with this ambition at their IFA Press Conference. The Cell REGZA was introduced in Japan in December last year, the world’s first LCD TV integrated with the Cell Broadband Engine* 3 , designed for superior multimedia processing, and the advanced CELL Platform. It is basically the ultimate blend of an HD TV capable of 5,000,000:1 dynamic contrast (including 512 zone local area dimming) and an ultra high-powered processor (arithmetic processing 143 times that of the current REGZA TV) along with a 3-terabyte hard disc drive. The multiple processors, each virtually identical to those used in Sony’s PS3, develop around ten times the oomph of an average PC! The exact specifications of such kind of a TV for Europe are set to be announced at IFA, however we felt it would be very useful to take a closer look at what makes this “monster” so special in its home market. In Japan, the recording of Live TV programmes remains very popular, so the capacity of the Cell TV to record eight channels at the same time appears to be a big draw card. Indeed, two of the machine’s three terabytes of storage capacity are dedicated to the Cell REGZA’s “Time Shift Machine”, which continuously record’s the user’s eight favourite channels AT ALL TIMES, for a little over 24 hours. According to Sascha Lange, in Europe, this capacity may be far less important than in Japan, as people here are more used to VoD and other ways of obtaining their programmes. Nevertheless it will be very interesting to see what capacity such a TV concept as a “Euro Model” will have in this respect. Another key aspect of the Japanese Cell REGZA is the fact that due to its massive processing power, it is able to easily up-convert low quality signals such as “direct from the Internet” TV (like YouTube etc), into an image that looks quite acceptable, or even “good” on a large screen TV. This until now has been a big challenge for the manufacturers, who are confronted with the fact that pumping the kind of low-quality images that look quite okay on a PC into a bigscreen digital TV generally has very disappointing results for the viewer. Masaaki Kimura, Group Manager, Global Marketing Dept of Toshiba says he is “very pleased” with the sales of Cell REGZA in Japan, and that while only in the thousands, they are beyond the initial forecasts of the company. We will be keeping a close eye on sales here in Europe once the new sub-brand is launched. One thing is sure… Toshiba has set the technical bar very high… *1 In the category of the screen size 10-inch or more for LCD TV, as of March 2010. *2 As of March, 2010, Source: Toshiba. *3 “CELL Broadband Engine” is a trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Toshiba's staff give IFA International the "inside story" of the Cell TV, showing the powerful processing and storage boards. Very impressive. IFA International • Monday, 30 th August 2010 27

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