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Low plasma TV street pricing has boosted plasma panel shipments to a record 1.9 million the third quarter, according to market research firm DisplaySearch.

PDP module shipments rose 37 percent sequentially and 118 percent year-to-year the third quarter, said DisplaySearch in its quarterly PDP module and TV shipment and forecast report. The strong demand and the recent termination of production at four older fab lines have turned a first-half surplus into a looming second-half shortage.

The firm noted that with PDP supply growth at less than half the rate of 2005 supply, double-digit plasma display shortages are possible by the fourth quarter of 2006. Slower supply growth will cause shortages to persist and prices to fall more slowly, which will open the door for the LCD TV industry to narrow the price gap and increase their market share. DisplaySearch expects PDP makers to consider accelerating their capacity investments in order not to choke off demand.

In the third quarter, average weighted PDP TV prices sunk below $1800 for 42-in. enhanced-definition units, less than $2700 for 42 to 43-in. high-definition units, and less than $3800 for 50-in. units. Fourth-quarter PDP shipments are projected at 2.3 million units. Plasma display revenue totaled $1.6 billion the third quarter, up 57 percent year-to-year and 29 percent sequentially, according to DisplaySearch.

Matsushita was the fastest growing PDP module supplier for the second quarter in a row. Its 49% quarter-over-quarter growth increased its market share from 25 to 27 percent, narrowing the gap with Samsung SDI, which remained the leading PDP supplier with a 29.5 percent share.

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