Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Planar Systems Clearly Up To Something

I've barely gotten in the door at the Denver Convention Center, and already the drama is flying.

According to a report on CE Planar/Runco/Vidikron may soon be Planar/Runco/Vidikron.

Planar Booth Yet to Include Vidikron Brand

Yes, it's premature.But it bears stating that Planar's booth on the CEDIA Expo show floor, which opens at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, doesn't include any apparent references to the Vidikron brand. Internet rumors have swirled recently that Planar, parent of Runco, will drop longtime video brand Vidikron.

Even before Planar Systems acquired Runco and her subsidiary Vidikron, the latter always held a weird position in the marketplace. Vidikron's projection technology has always been superb, but they've always been percieved in the market as a bridesmaid brand: if your custom AV company didn't qualify as a dealer for the industry leading premiere Runco brand, owing to protected dealer territories, you could always sign on as a Vidikron dealer. One industry smartass once quipped to me that Vidikron's relationship to Runco was a case of "Good, but not good enough."

Given that Planar launched their own branded line of home cinema products at last year's CEDIA Expo at more modest price points than Runco's Rolls-Royce-level pricing, you really had to wonder where odd-man out Vidikron would play in their future marketing strategy.

Bear in mind that at press time Planar had not commented on the rumors, but at this point I'm not feeling too bad about our choice two years ago at Systems Inc to not become a Vidikron dealer.

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