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Will Plasma Grab Back The Top End Of The TV Market

“In Australia Plasma panels have been in short supply from all vendors, as a result retailers have been hyping up LCD simply to get a sale because this is what they have in their warehouse” said Paul Read the Director of Consumer Electronics at Panasonic.

“This will change in coming weeks as we roll out our new range of plasma panels” said Read.

From a product evolution prospective, all the manufacturers left in the plasma market believe that the technical upside for Plasma still has a long way to go. They believe, and I have to agree, that plasma is still the superior display technology.
The vendors also believe that the flexibility and the fact that they already have plasma manufacturing plants in place will allow them to not only compete on price but deliver very thin energy efficient TV display screens going forward that could even dominate in the over 50″ TV market.

Bob Perry, a senior US executive with Panasonic, told me at the last CES show that he was confident that Panasonic – who are currently building new plasma manufacturing plants – will be able to deliver a new generation of plasma display technology by 2010. This will be achieved due to Panasonic’s recent aquisition of the entire Pioneer R&D team that were responsible for the Pioneer Kuro plasma panel (described as the best in the world).

There is also speculation that Panasonic has acquired the Pioneer Kuro display patents and related  technology, but not the Kuro brand name which is still going to be used by Pioneer for a new range of sound gear.  

Perry said recently “We clearly see in the industry numbers that LCD growth market, has levelled off, and its growth rate is slower than the growth rate of PDP. PDP, used principally in larger displays, continues to show growth as consumers shift to larger displays (50’+), and as PDP, a fairly immature technology from a cost perspective, continues to show improved cost effectiveness”

Tim Alessi, LG’s director of product development recently said that his company is still committed to the format claiming that “LG will include some of our newest technology in plasma sets, technology such as advanced design, NetCast Entertainment Access for connection to a wide array of Internet-based content and THX-certified displays” in the coming years. According to their estimates, “plasma will account for more than 40 percent of the 50-inch and larger screen size sales.” And this volume should continue for another 3 to 4 years.

John Revie, a senior Vice President at Samsung, who are a major manufacturer of plasma display panels, said “Plasma is an important part of the Flat Panel industry, representing approximately 30% of the 40″+ market and 50% of the 50″+ market. Plasma TVs provide the consumer great picture performance and value. As such we will remain committed to this technology and continue to make capital expenditure and R&D investments to improve our production capability and product design.