(STAR) By Conrado M. Diaz Jr. - In its website for its newest line of high-definition TV sets, Japan’s Sony Corp. proclaims: "When you’re introducing the next generation of television, you want to make an impact – but that doesn’t mean you have to be predictable."

Yet with its latest array of feature-rich products and an aggressive promotional swing to boot, the consumer electronics giant could well end up in a predictable position – a stronger foothold at the top of the TV market.

Carried by its fresh strapline "Like No Other" which, in the case of its video products, highlights the color quality seen on Sony’s TV screens, the company is reasserting its leadership in the TV market with a slew of new products, the latest of which it calls the "ultimate TV" – the Bravia SXRD (silicon crystal reflective display).

Arnold Balao, deputy director for home audio-video product marketing of Sony Philippines, says this new product – basically a projection TV – is powered by proprietary Sony technologies which ensure that this is "the best of today’s televisions, promises higher than high-definition quality, and is the ideal television for Filipinos," at least to those who can afford it.

With its Bravia (short for best resolution audio visual integrated architecture) line, Sony is offering the most comprehensive LCD (liquid crystal display) TV line up in the Asian market. "We are now leveraging our strengths on the latest range of LCD televisions, which utilize Sony’s panels incorporating new generation technology," Balao says.

‘Sony aims to achieve the number one position in the LCD television market in the Asia Pacific region by offering consumers high-resolution picture quality, superior audio fidelity, easy user interface and designer looks," Balao adds.

From the compact 15-inch screen to a wide 40" models, the Bravia series has features such as a one megapixel picture resolution, providing sharper and more defined colors; 30 percent increase in backlight emissions for viewing with greater reality; digital amplifier and surround stereo sound quality; an advanced light sensor that automatically adjusts brightness depending on the surrounding environment; a picture-and-picture function allowing simultaneous viewing in two separate windows on the same screen; and a picture-freeze function which freezes the screen temporarily on a broadcast program for quick jot-downs while an ongoing movie continues to play in the sub-window.

Since its launch last year, the Bravia line helped push Sony’s dominance in the local TV market, capturing over 50 percent share in the 40" segment and more than two-thirds of the 50" and larger category.

Complementing its high-end models is Sony’s Sparkling Wega series, the company’s offering for the mid-range market. Based on the traditional CRT (cathode ray tube) screen, Balao points out that Sony "has not neglected the CRT TV market, even as we are committed to be a dominant player in the LCD TV market."

"We recognize the existence of economical consumers who demand affordable, yet premium quality, televisions," he notes.

The Sparkling Wega (pronounced vay-gah) line is being endorsed by no less than top singer/actress Sharon Cuneta, known as the megastar in Philippine showbusiness, who leads all other personalities as the main choice for product endorsements.

Balao says Cuneta, also referred to simply as Mega, was tailored-fit to pitch for Sparkling Wega. A word of German origin, Wega is, in fact, one of the brightest stars in the northern sky visible to the naked eye. It also was a big plus that she herself is an avid Sony user – a huge 60" Grand Wega prominently displayed in her living room.

Balao says the Spakling Wega series come at competitive price points that Sony Philippines believes will be accessible to middle-class consumers for whom practicality is of prime consideration.

"As we launch the Sony Spakling Wega, we want to make everyone understand that they have the right to expect the high quality that is associated with the Sony brand," Balao says.

The technologically-advanced Sparkling Wega line retails for just under P10,000 for a 21" model, to about P60,000 for a 34" unit.

Balao adds that with their improved product offerings and competitive pricing, Sony’s total TV sales in the Philippines continue to grow, increasing by 50 percent last July alone.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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