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The big screen TV battle is set to get nasty with several LCD TV vendors now rolling out over 50-inch screens. The move, which has been facilitated by new LCD TV manufacturing capabilities, is set to put pressure on plasma manufacturers.

Depending on price, the over 50-inch market and in particular the over 60-inch market is set to be driven by consumers who actually have the space to display a large screen properly.  These sizes will also appeal to commercial applications such as pubs and clubs and in retail shopping centres.

This week Sony rolled out what it claims is the world’s largest LCD TV along with a new range of Bravia TVs. 

Rival maker Panasonic is said to offer the world’s largest plasma screen, 261 centimetres diagonally (2.4 metres by 1.4 metres), weighing 220 kilograms and costing $A105, 000 – excluding installation.) The new models will also have advanced technology that can eliminate fuzziness, Sony said.

Also in the large LCD TV bragging race is Sharp, which earlier this year rolled out a 108-inch LCD TV. It has also revealed a remarkable 52-inch LCD-TV prototype that is only 29mm thick.

That’s scarcely more than an inch, and only slightly more than a third the thickness of current sets. The set weighs 25kg, compared with 30.5kg for conventional 52-inch LCD-TVS, and has a contrast ratio of 100,000:1, said Sharp director Takuji Okawara, compared with 2000:1 for the native contrast of Sharp’s sets today. Sharp also said the new set would consume only half the power of current sets. Now that is impressive.

 

Sharp expects to develop the set for volume production in early 2010, and build it on Sharp’s Gen 10 production line, which will begin operation at about that time.

Currently plasma manufacturers who have seen their market share crash in recent months hold sway in the over 50-inch TV market
 
Plasma still sells more HDTVs than any other technology in the 50-inch and above screen size category, according to Quixel Research’s ‘Plasma TV Market Review Q2 2007.

And, sales of larger sized plasma HDTVs have exceeded the smaller sizes in the last financial quarter. For the first time, the 50-inch – 59-inch screen size category has topped overall plasma sales with 48 percent of the segment – even outpacing the once more popular 42-inch screen sales.

“PDP manufacturers are moving to higher ground as the LCD TV competition continues to press on and the 50-inch and above space is where PDP can offer consumers values right now.

 

“The price-per-inch (PPI) for an LCD TV between 50-inch and 59-inch was over 65 percent more than the plasma TV PPI in Q2. The 50-inch to 59-inch PDP screen size segment grew four percent quarter-to-quarter while the 42-inch to 49-inch segment declined 19 percent quarter-to-quarter. Unit sales of 58 inch plasma TVs were up quarter-to-quarter but have yet to impact the overall category, “said Tamaryn Pratt, principal of Quixel Research.

The overall plasma HDTV market showed an eight percent decline in units sold in Q2 2007 compared to the previous quarter. But, on a year to year basis, the category was up four percent with first half 2007 sales up 17 percent when compared to the first half of 2006.

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