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Hitachi Ltd. and its subsidiary Fujitsu Hitachi Plasma Display Ltd. (FHP) have developed a 42-inch plasma display panel with full high-definition resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels.

According to Hitachi, the 42-inch panel is the first of its size with full HD resolution. The company expects that plasma panels with full HD resolution of 1366 x 786 pixels or wide type XGA resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels will surpass standard definition VGA panels shortly.The move could hurt Pioneer.

In the HD panel market, Hitachi claims to have a 30 percent share in Japan and intends to boost overseas sales in this market as well. The panel is expected to be a strategic product when it hits the market. Competitors have shown 50-inch full HD prototype panels.

Hitachi estimates that this year’s PDP demand is 8 million units, with HD panels accounting for about 44 percent. By 2008, 68 percent of 14 million PDP units will have full HD resolution, according to Hitachi.After turning FHP into its 80 percent subsidiary from a 50 percent joint venture with Fujitsu Ltd. in March, Hitachi has been expanding PDP production. Fab 2, Hitachi’s main plant in Miyazaki Prefecture, increased capacity to 100,000 units per month in August.

Hitachi has invested an additional $83 million on top of the $620 million allocated to build a fab next to Fab 2. Monthly capacity for the second fab will initially be 100,000 units per month when it opens in Oct. 2006, expanding to 200,000 units by 2008

Total monthly PDP capacity from both fabs will be 200,000 units in 2006 and 300,000 by 2008, according to Hitachi.

Even with the expansion, Hitachi will lag behind its chief competitors, who have also boosted production. Samsung SDI already has a 250,000 unit per month capacity, while Matsushita has just reached 300,000 units per month.

The full HD 42-inch panel will be produced at the new fab, which will use glass substrates suited for 37-inch, 42-inch, and 55 inch panels.

The pixel pitch of the 42-inch full HD panel is 0.48 x 0.48 millimeters– almost half of the pitch of conventional HD panels. By enlarging the aperture ratio from 50 to 61 percent, the panel achieves a contrast ratio of 3000 to 1 and brightness of 1000 candelas per square meter, according to Hitachi.

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