By Chris Nicholls

MELBOURNE: Pioneer Australia has confirmed it will seek to import the company’s new Sharp-panelled LCD televisions before the year is out, despite previous reports in other media that suggested otherwise.

In one of his first local interviews with Australian media after last Friday’s announcement on their business restructure and exit from the plasma panel manufacturing sector, Pioneer Australia managing director Yasuo Sakuma said while many details were up in the air and could not be confirmed, he would seek to import the new LCDs “by year’s end”, which would mean Australia will receive the models soon after their planned European release date.

He said sizes would "probably" start in the 30-inch bracket and go up to about 40-inches, although he again stressed specific sizes were not set.

However, Sakuma could not confirm whether the LCDs would carry the ‘Kuro’ name, saying the decision had yet to be made at head office. He did say the brand name carried weight with retailers, though, suggesting any LCD with a ‘Kuro’ badge attached would get salespeople’s attention. 

Mirroring Panasonic’s plasma/LCD marketing strategy, Sakuma said Pioneer would market their LCDs as suitable for smaller rooms and sell plasma as the solution for larger living rooms and those who wanted a true ‘home theatre’ solution.

Sakuma said Pioneer’s decision to enter the LCD market would mean a more than three-times increase in the size of their possible display sales market.

“Our display business is built around a ‘total home entertainment’ strategy. And of course, the television is central to this strategy. As a result, the opportunity to move into LCDs is a great chance to increase the breadth of our offering in this marketplace.”