02.15.2006 12:00 AM
Flat-Panel Makers Growing Global Output
According to some Japanese publications this week (which often do not include sources), some major electronics companies are stepping up efforts to tap into the rapidly expanding market for flat-panel sets (most of them HD) in both the U.S. and Europe.

Matsushita reportedly plans to increase its unit sales of plasma sets in North America by 200 percent -- to more than 1.5 million units over the next 12 months. Under the Panasonic brand, the company also wants to grow the proportion of its plasma HD sales in the U.S. to 85 percent. (Currently it's about 60 percent.) In Europe, Matsushita reportedly will strive to boost sales of plasma units by about 150 percent to 1.3 million units in FY06.

Meanwhile, there are published reports in Asia that Hitachi intends to launch new plasma HD models soon (perhaps at NAB2006?) and increase efforts to widen the firm's sales channels in the United States and Europe. Hitachi is seeking to double its sales of plasma HDs to as much as 500,000 units, split evenly between America and Europe.

Also, Pioneer is planning to offer a 50-inch plasma TV in Europe that is HD-worthy this spring (apparently just in time to take advantage of the expected higher demand for flat-panels generated by the World Cup in Germany in June). And JVC plans to double its sales of LCD HDs in Europe by equipping its mid-range HD model with an image enhancing function only used in its high-end LCD model until now.

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