The Sydney Morning Herald has just reported what SmartHouse told you 12 months ago. Laser TV from locally listed company Arasor is a dud until at least 2009, and by then OLED TV will be the hot new TV technology.
In a remarkable backdown, Arasor the company that told 4Square Media that “We had got our facts wrong” in September of 2006 when we at the time claimed that the concept of a Laser TV roll out by 2007 seemed “far fetched” has now gone on record confirming that the concept of a laser TV offering from a major TV vendor is still a long way away.
They have also said that they will not deliver a laser TV this year or even next year.
This time last year several journalists including the SMH and the Daily Telegraph were well and truly sucked into believing that by Xmas 2007 Mitsubishi would be rolling out laser TVs. They splashed it over their web sites. Even TV stations like Channel Nine, Seven Ten and the ABC reported that Laser TV was coming by 2007.
The only problem at the time was that Mitsubishi Australia knew nothing of the plan. Compounding the issue was the fact that Arasor had no technical or development employees in Australia and no vendor in the world would go on the record confirming a relationship with Arasor.
|Arasor executives show a Laser TV that they said would be delivered by late 2007.|
Other media sucked in at the time into believing that Laser TV was a viable option in 2007 were:
CNet at: http://www.cnet.com.au/tvs/0,239035250,339271573,00.htm
ITWire at: http://www.itwire.com.au/content/view/6216/52/
In fact more than 40 other media organisations ran the Arasor puff story at the time.
Now in a front page story on their SMH website Fairfax journalist Asher Moses has written that Laser TVs that were supposed to debut this Christmas and relegate the humble plasma to the scrap heap, are now unlikely till at least 2009.
Moses also wrote that on the eve of its Australian stock exchange debut in October last year, Arasor and another laser TV chip producer, Novalux, held a press conference for the technology and showed an apparently superior laser TV prototype side-by-side with plasma.
The pair promised a worldwide launch by Christmas 2007 under known brands such as Mitsubishi and Samsung. Arasor reiterated the promise of an end of 2007 launch in its last annual report. He also reported that Novalux’s chief executive, Jean-Michel Pelaprat, said at the time that plasma was “now something of the past”, as laser TVs could produce twice the range of colours of current flat panel models while being thinner, lighter and less of an electricity hog.
According to the SMH, Scott Wilkie, vice-president of ASX-listed Arasor has admitted to the SMH that the Christmas 2007 date would be missed but said Arasor was not to blame, as it only made the optical chips and did not manufacture the TVs. He said Arasor was only quoting Mitsubishi’s timetable in its annual report and stood by the bullish quality claims made last year.
Wilke who lives in Brisbane and commutes occasionally to Sydney tried to defend his company’s embarrassing failure by saying “We’re ready to scale and have been so for a while but I think it’s fair to say that a couple of other key component manufacturers haven’t quite ramped up as fast as was expected,” Wilkie said. “Like everyone else we’re sitting and waiting.”
Back in September of 2006 when SmartHouse first wrote about Arasor we said:
EXCLUSIVE: Serious questions are being raised about a Company that claims it will roll out Laser TV by next year.
If you search Google for anything on Laser TV you will find very little as opposed to SED TV, or LCD TV or even Plasma. So when a bunch of guys tell you it is going to be the next big thing one has to be sceptical particular when they are spruiking to raise $35 million from Australian investors.
It appears that unknown Company Arasor International and its US partner Novalux have already been knocked back by several Venture Capital Companies but despite this they are attempting to raise money from Australian investors by holding an all singing all dancing PR event where they have claimed that Laser TV is set to be the next big thing after LCD, Plasma and the upcoming SED TV which has two of the biggest technology Companies in the world behind it: Canon and Toshiba.
This week in Sydney Arasor International and its US partner Novalux unveiled what they claimed to be the world’s first laser television and apart from a slick demo, the Company has not spelt out how they are going to turn the Laser TV into a commercial success on a mere $35 million when other TV technology such as LCD is sucking up billions of dollars for Companies like Sony, Samsung and LG.
At the time we wrote: “This is a Company that has no office in Australia other than via an Adelaide accountant’s office HLB Mann Judd Stephens. 14 months on we still cannot find an office for Arasor and a visit to their web site at www.arasor.com.au reveals that they have offices in China, USA and Japan. Anyone wishing to contact them in Australia is asked to write an email and the company will respond. The Company has also appointed a new PR Company after parting company with Professional Public Relations who were responsible for running their last Laser TV press conference.
At the time of the September 2006 launch Arasor claimed that that they would only invest in Australia if the share offering to raise $35 million is successful in Australia. They have also failed to reveal which manufacturers have actually signed up to buy their technology but they do claim that they have $30million dollars worth of orders.
The fact is that if this Company were as good as they claim and the technology such a breakthrough Companies like Sony. Hitachi, Pioneer and others would be all over them to buy the technology or at least, invest in it.
A search of the Arasor web site reveals that the directors of the Company are Simon Cao Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Charles Mao Executive Director, Larry Marshall Executive Director, George SyCip Non-Executive Director and Parviz Tayebati Non-Executive Director. Also listed is Anthony Surtees Non-Executive Director, Ian Neal Non-Executive Director, Laurie Kan Non-Executive Director and Zhu Xin Kun Non-Executive Director.
They claim that Arasor is a developer of integrated optoelectronic and wireless solutions and that their products increase the bandwidth and speed of the networks that deliver broadband data to consumers and enhance the image quality and performance of next generation laser-driven televisions that deliver rich content to consumers. On the question of financial viability the directors of Arasor claim in their prospectus that that all projections are based on assumptions and that these assumptions may, or may not take place.
Professional Public Relations the PR Company hired to spruik Arasor in 2006 chose to only reveal the Laser TV to selected journalists such as radio and mass media journalists. This was quite deliberate said Gareth Llewellyn Group Director of Technology at PPR. Specialist CE media who had the knowledge and skill set to question the claims being made by Arasor directors were denied access to the demonstration or access to directors of the Company.
A promise by PPR to give SHN access to the directors of Arasor a Company that appears to operate more in China and India than Australia was not forthcoming. Directors of Arasor could not be contacted at their Adelaide agent’s office. Arasor International Group Holdings Ltd which holds all the shares in (“AIG”) is incorporated in the Cayman Islands.
When SmartHouse called Arasor head office in Australia, the receptionist did not know any one of the listed directors for Arasor including the Company CEO Simon Cao. She said “Are you sure you have the right office. I have never heard of these people.” When SHN finally tracked down the listed Company Secretary Donald Stephens an Adelaide Accountant he said “The directors of Arasor are hard to get. They are very transient. I have quite a lot of difficulty contacting them. When I do it is by email”.
He added: “The guy you need to contact is Peter Sandiland he handles publicity for the Company. I believe some of the directors were in Australia yesterday for some sort of launch so they must be around”.
Right now Companies TV like Samsung, Pioneer, Canon and Toshiba are spending billions building Plasma and LCD TV production lines so an investment in a Laser TV production facility is a long way off claim industry analysts. Display Search which are one of the world’s leading TV display research Companies claim that they have never heard of Arasor or the Laser TV technology that Arasor are claiming will change the way we watch TV.
The Sydney Morning Herald claims that Wilkie told them that “two very wealthy people in Sydney” have offered to buy laser TV prototypes to “stick in their private residences”.
He would not give names but said one harbour side resident, who had just built a new $50 million mansion with a $2 million entertainment room, offered a six-figure sum for one.
“An offer was made but we weren’t in a position to sell it as we had to take it to China to demo to the Central Committee members,” Wilkie said.
In September 2006 SmartHouse contacted Mitsubishi locally. They denied any knowledge of the laser TV launch or the involvement of Mitsubishi in the Laser TV launch laid on by Arasor.
Paul Caldarera, the National Sales and marketing at Mitsubishi said, “The first we heard of the laser TV concept was when we read about it online in the Australian national media. One would have expected that the Managing Director of Mitsubishi would have been invited especially as the directors of Novalux and Arasor were in Australia announcing a TV breakthrough that involved Mitsubishi.”
“We don’t know where they got the Mitsubishi screen from and no one in Mitsubishi seems to know anything about Laser TV which is extremely unusual as we are often told by parent Mitsubishi Companies of activities in Australia involving Mitsubishi”.
Journalists attending the launch of the so called Laser TV were not allowed access to the inner workings of the demonstration Laser TV, according to journalists who attended the event.