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Panasonic to sell 103in PDP TV this year

Up yours, LG and Samsung

Panasonic will sell a flat-panel TV with a 103in screen by the end of the year, the company said yesterday.

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

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

The widescreen panel has a full HD (high-definition) resolution of 1,920x1,080 and a 3,000:1 contrast ratio.

When it was unveiled at CES it was widely seen as a dig against South Korean rivals LG and Samsung, who had been constantly trying to better each 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 102in screens. Panasonic stole that title from both companies with its panel.

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

Fierce competition with LCD makers has led to PDP losing market share in the 40in to 50in part of the market. This is in part because LCD displays at this size offer full HD 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. That work is starting to pay off. The first PDP TV sets in this size bracket with full HD resolution are now coming on to the market.

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