|At the press conference, the SOKOL Consumer Electronics Company announced the creation of SOKOL new generation TV sets. These were the new models of the FAVORITE series. The new models had been designed by Artemy Lebedev Studio. Where Russian market was concerned, this was the first alliance between TV manufacturing company and a design studio.
The FAVORITE series
The SOKOL Consumer Electronics Company began developing this new series a year ago. Such a long preparation was due to a principally new approach, which is why we call the FAVORITE series a new generation of SOKOL TV sets.
Traditionally, the lifetime of a TV model line is no more than 2 or 3 years, which is long enough for the housing cast mould to have paid for itself, the design still remaining in demand with customers. By the end of this time, the moulds wear out physically, each good for up to a million casts, and their designs become outdated. The TV sets of the Classic and Optimum model lines reached this boundary, making a new model line necessary, so the company opted for an original design and decided to introduce its own concept of SOKOL TV sets to the market.
Such approach to the creation of a new model line is based not solely on the company's inner development drive but also on market tendencies. Competition on the market of inexpensive TV sets being very strong, demand is equally supported by a high technological level of TVs and the modern and original design of their housings.
The positioning of the new SOKOL models on the market will be slightly different. The Favorite series is intended for buyers who expect something better from their TVs as concerns design and consumer-oriented qualities and prepared to pay 5% to 15% more, as compared with cheaper models of the Classic series, for what they want. The new line includes three models with regular TV tubes, their diagonal sizes 37 cm, 51 cm, and 54 cm, and a set with a flat 54 cm screen. Favorite will become the leading SOKOL series , accounting for 30% to 35% of SOKOL's total output of TV sets in 2003 and 2004.
- Technically, these TV sets are based on new technologies. All the other sets are being gradually modified to use them too.
- The SOKOL TV housings were purposefully designed by Artemy Lebedev Studio. Previously, moulds for casting TV housings had been purchased from other manufacturers.
The Technical Characteristics
The Favorite models will be built around a single-crystal video processor based on UOC (Ultimate One Chip) integral circuits produced by the Philips Semiconductors corporation. The sets of the Acoustic series have been made this way since February 2003. Before this year is over, all SOKOL TV sets will be built with the use of the UOC technology. The principal advantage of the Ultimate One Chip electronics is the heightened overall reliability of components. This is due to the fact that when integral circuits are used, the number of peripheral components is considerably reduced, which makes TVs simpler, while minimizing costs every step of the way, from developing new designs to actual production.
In order to assure a better support of the SECAM standard, the SECAM Precision signal processing system will be used in the new sets of the Favorite series. It makes receivers more sensitive and assures that signal is passed to the video processor without additional transformations, that is, without distortions. With this new technology, SOKOL TV sets have ideal error-free image.
The TV sets of the Favorite series with 54 cm diagonal screen size have stereo and pseudo-stereo sound capability, multi-band audio fidelity control, and separate volume controls for speakers and headsets. They also have the "image-within-an-image" feature. In every model of the new series, the number of built-in games is extended from 3 to 5, there are the "tele-text" function, a real-time clock, on and off timers, child lock, and automatic commercial volume suppression. The new TV sets keep the best features of the previous models, such as a convenient menu, automatic program search memory, and program titles feature. They are equipped with SCART and RCA jacks and have automatic voltage regulation between 170 and 260 volts.
On the basis of an analysis, the departments of the Chief Designer and marketing of the company have prepared technical requirements for the creation of the new TV sets. The primary objective was producing original housing designs to meet the requirements of TV fashion and developing the technical characteristics of the models and the development of an integral model line of TV sets united by a common concept. Two of the new models, with regular and flat screens, have diagonal screen size 54 cm.
The development of a housing design was commissioned from the Artemy Lebedev Studio, one of very few actively developing Russian companies with experience in industrial design. Where the production of TV sets in our country was concerned, the joint effort of the SOKOL Consumer Electronics Company and Artemy Lebedev Studio was the first example of an alliance between an industrial company and a design studio.
The design was created in stages. Firstly, one conceptual idea was selected from the many offered. Next, this idea was shaped into sketches showing the placing of speakers, controls, jacks, and the front and rear panels. Finally, the drawings of the cast moulds were made.
The drawings completed, the cast moulds will be made in Southeast Asia. They will be ready by September this year. The housings will be cast at the Arsenal plant in the town of Alexandrov, the Vladimir Region, where SOKOL TV sets are made.
The TV sets of the new model line will appear in stores in October 2003. Before the year is over, 40,000 new sets are expected to be made and sold. In the future, while new TV models are produced, the old one will be gradually taken out of production. However, the best of the cheaper previous models, such as those of the Classic series, will be still produced.