Panasonic to sell 103-inch PDP TV this year

Panasonic is planning to put on sale before the end of this year a flat-panel TV with a 103-inch screen, the company said Wednesday.

Matsushita Electric Industrial (Panasonic) will sell a flat-panel TV with a 103-inch screen by the end of the year, the company said.

Based on currently announced screens, the new television stands to be the world's largest flat-panel set.

A prototype was first shown at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January this year, but at that time Panasonic didn't have anything to say about a commercial product. However, on Wednesday the company's U.S. unit, Panasonic of North America, said it will be available in December this year. Pricing was not announced.

The widescreen panel has a full high-definition resolution of 1,920 pixels by 1,080 pixels and a 3000:1 contrast ratio.

When it was unveiled at CES it was widely seen as a dig against South Korean rivals LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics, both of which compete with Panasonic in the PDP market and both of which had been constantly trying to better the other by producing larger and larger plasma screens.

The size tussle had momentarily ended with LG and Samsung both laying claim to the world's largest plasma display panel with 102-inch screens. Panasonic stole that title from both companies with its new panel.

While the large screen represents an impressive manufacturing achievement simply because of its size, all PDP makers are currently concentrating on technological development at the opposite end of the market.

Fierce competition with LCD (liquid crystal display) makers has led to PDP losing market share in the 40-inch to 50-inch part of the market. This is in part because LCD displays at this size offer full high-definition resolution of 1,080 horizontal lines while PDPs of this size have been stuck at the lower 720 horizontal lines resolution.

So recent development work among PDP makers has focused on getting full HD resolution into such panels and that work is starting to pay off. The first PDP TV sets in this size bracket with full HD resolution are now coming onto the market.

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service

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