Toshiba Revs Up High-Margin LCDs
Despite the excitement over 120Hz this year, it’s a very difficult concept to explain to consumers on the showroom floor. To clarify the explanation and help with the sale, Toshiba includes an easy demo surrounding the REGZA line. In order to show off 120Hz, all a dealer has to do is hold down the menu button on the remote for three seconds. A split screen appears and shows what the picture looks like with 120Hz on one side, and without it on the other. The demo works without any video components hooked up to the set. “Once you see it, you don’t need an explanation,” he said. “You don’t have to be techie. You just see it.”
The other major improvement to Toshiba’s flat panels has less to do with how the screen looks on the inside and more to do with how it looks on the outside. Common flat panels come with a 2.0-inch bezel. Some of the thinner models feature 1.5- or 1.7-inch bezels. Toshiba’s new “Super Narrow Bezel” sets, such as the 46-inch 46RF350U, shrink the surrounding cabinetry to 0.9 inches. “It’s the world’s smallest bezel and it stands out on a sales floor,” he said. “These days, cabinetry is more than half the sale. Having something like that makes it stand out.” Another key benefit is that a 40-inch Super Narrow Bezel set will typically fit into an armoire designed for 37-inch sets.
With Super Narrow Bezel and 120Hz, Ramirez said everything is in place for Toshiba dealers from now into 2008. And as the holiday season quickly approaches, these technologies help sales people convince customers there are concrete reasons why they should shell out a few more bucks than they do on the sets available at Costco. The Super Narrow Bezel sets cost about $200 more than similar models without it, while 120Hz versions of the Super Narrow Bezel sets cost around $200 more than that, so there’s more room for salespeople to increase margins.