By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: NEC Australia has launched its second range of high definition digital integrated LCD TVs bringing its total lineup to seven models, which the company claims is the largest HD integrated offering from any manufacturer in the LCD category.

The three HDB2 models add to the existing HD1 integrated HD LCD range, with 1366×768 resolution, HDMI input, 1200:1 contrast ratio and 8ms response time.

The new range also features a 50-watt bottom-mounted speaker system, which NEC says is growing in popularity over the conventional side-mount design of the HD1 range.

“There has been a definite shift to bottom mount speaker, so we have take the position of having both types available in high definition integrated. The bottom mount speaker have actually 50 watts RMS, compared to some competitors with only around 12 watts,” said NEC product manager – audio visual, Paul Cunningham.

Screen sizes in the new range include 32-inch (RRP $3,299), 40-inch (RRP $4,499) and 46-inch (RRP $6,499), and NEC will release a 57-inch LCD with integrated HD tuner in early 2007 in response to the demand for larger LCDs.

“Larger screen sizes have been traditionally dominated by plasma but we expect the LCD TV market to almost triple in size from 2005 to 2006. Total LCD sales are already significantly higher than plasma,” said Cunningham.

NEC will extend HD digital tuners to its plasma range in the coming months, with a 42-inch and 50-inch model with integrated HD tuners expected soon.

NEC is also planning to release an LCD with a built-in hard disk drive so users can watch and record TV programs directly to the TV, instead of DVD Recorders.