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LCD TV vendors such as Acer, BenQ, ViewSonic, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Samsung Electronics are all set to launch new large screen LCD TV’s with many set to reveal new products at the up coming CES Expo in Las Vegas.

During the past few months many vendors such as Acer and Samsung  have aggressively expanded their widescreen LCD monitor offerings. BenQ recently unveiled a 8ms 20-inch LCD wide-screen monitor (FP202W). Acer and ViewSonic also added 24-inch and 23-inch LCD monitor, respectively, to their lineups with price tags of less than $2,000. This will put pressure on the likes of Bauman Myer. also set to hit the market in the new year are LCD TV’s from European vendors such as Lowe and Grundig.

Among Taiwan-based TFT LCD panel makers, Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) is the main producer of 19-inch LCD widescreen panels. CMO uses 5.5 generation (5.5G) substrates for the panels, as each substrate can be cut into 15 19-inch LCD widescreen panels, as opposed to only 12 19-inch panels when a 4:3 ratio is used, according to Taiwan-based system makers. ViewSonic, Acer and CMV all use CMO panels in their 19-inch widescreen LCD monitors.

However, the ASP (average selling price) for widescreen LCD monitor panels is expected to drop more than 30% within six months. Taiwan-based panel makers are currently ramping capacity at their sixth generation (6G) plants, and widescreen monitor panels can be priced more economically when cut from 6G and 7G panels, the sources said. For 6G substrates, 16 20.1-inch LCD monitors panels can be cut using an aspect ratio of 4:3, compared to 20 widescreen panels, ViewSonic and BenQ noted.

In addition, the recent launch of the Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE) OS should help expand the market share of widescreen LCD monitors in the overall LCD monitor market. Widescreen LCD monitors will account for 20% of overall LCD monitors shipments in 2006, up from 2% this year, according to Alan Chang, vice president of ViewSonic for Asia-Pacific sales and marketing.

Pacific Media Associates (PMA) reported significant advertised price drops for LCD TVs, especially larger size models. But prices for Plasma TVs and rear-projection TV’s held steady from September.

LCD TV models are now being advertised at the same price points as PDP TV models in the 42-inch segment, and both technologies have narrowed the price gap with RPTV models of similar size, according to PMA Vice President Rosemary Abowd. The aggressive pricing in all three segments may make it difficult for retailers to cut prices further as we lead up to Xmas Abowd said.

The biggest advertised price movements in October were for larger LCD TVs. In the 40-to 42-inch category, advertised prices continued to challenge 42-inch HD (high definition) PDP technology.

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