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Byline: Michael Rudnick

LAS VEGAS-While Haier displayed a smattering of its bread-and-butter white goods products at the International Consumer Electronics Show, the focal point of its booth this year were flat-panel and flat-screen televisions.

The white goods company, which claims to be the world's second-largest major appliances manufacturer, is seeking to leverage its brand name to establish a significant presence in the flat-panel and flat-screen television marketplace.

Haier debuted its new Black Belt television series at CES, which includes a line of LCDs, plasmas and flat-screen televisions, all of which feature a sleek and streamlined high-gloss black finish.

The China-based company is looking to distance itself from its price-aggressive geographic neighbors known for low-cost LCDs and plasmas.

"We are competing with the big boys of television. Many players in the price-aggressive market will be gone in a year," said Vincent Cefalu, director of marketing at Haier America. "What we have accomplished in white goods, we are looking to achieve in flat panel."

Cefalu noted that Haier will initially target big-box consumer electronics retailers and department stores that currently distribute Haier's major appliances and trust the brand.

Haier plans to differentiate the new Black Belt series from the competition with its sleek design and, most importantly, proprietary USB interface Digital Display Interconnect Device technology. DDID, which is available in select Black Belt televisions, enables the plug-in of 12 different types of memory cards for playback of digital media. Another new technology, DV20, allows for the recording of up to 20 seconds of video and picture storage on the TVs.

The Black Belt series consists of a $6,800 42-inch plasma HDTV with integrated ATSC tuner; a $5,100 46-inch plasma EDTV, also with built-in digital tuner; a 42-inch plasma EDTV at $4,250; five LCD televisions ranging from 15- to 40-inch screen sizes; and a 20-, 24-, 27- and 32-inch flat CRT television. The line will be shipping to retailers in roughly three months, according to Cefalu.

Haier got its feet wet in the flat-panel arena at the 2004 CES, in which it displayed a 42- and 46-inch plasma EDTV. The original design for the limited line was brushed aluminum. Haier went the way of many of its peers at the 2005 show with a move from silver to black.

Caption(s): Haier's new Black Belt line features an assortment of plasmas, LCDs and flat-panel televisions.
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Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 17, 2005
Previous Article:CEA: INDUSTRY SALES BOOM HITS $113.5 BILLION IN 2004.

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