Sharp To License Elite Brand For LCD TVs

Mahwah, N.J. - The Pioneer Elite brand is returning to flat-screen TV.

Pioneer announced Thursday that the U.S. subsidiary Sharp will license Pioneer’s Elite brand for a line of high-end flat-panel displays to be introduced in the U.S. and Canada this year.

Currently, Pioneer uses the Elite brand to market a line of high-end audio/video receivers, Blu-ray Disc players and speakers.

Model details, pricing and availability were not disclosed.

Sharp hopes that by adopting the brand for high-end LCD TVs, it will be able to expand distribution of its premium large-scale TVs into high-end specialty A/V dealers and other accounts with assisted sales floors.

Pioneer said it will gain by adding large-screen LCD TVs to the market to complement its Pioneer’s Elite home-theater components.

The Elite line of LCD TVs will be jointly marketed by Sharp and Pioneer, and will be available through Pioneer’s authorized Elite dealer network, the companies said.

Sharp holds an equity investment in Pioneer.

“As a leader in large-screen LCD TV, we are excited to collaborate with Pioneer to bring a high-end LCD TV to the Elite consumer,” stated John Herrington, Sharp Electronics Marketing Company of America president. “The Elite brand is highly respected in the high-end market, and Sharp can deliver the quality and innovation that Elite customers demand.”

“Adding a line of high-end flat-panel TVs fills a market need in the industry and will help reinforce the strength of a complete Elite home-theater offering,” said Russ Johnston, Pioneer USA home electronics department executive VP. “With its cutting-edge LCD technology and unmatched production capabilities, Sharp is an important strategic collaborator that will deliver a whole new dimension to the large-screen home-theater experience.”