08.31.2005 12:00 AM
Panasonic Readies Asian Rollout of 65-inch HD Plasma
Matsushita Electric (Panasonic) is about to roll out its much-publicized 65-inch plasma display panel (PDP) TV flat-screen, the industry's largest HD screen geared for both commercial and consumer use. The huge display will first come to Japanese store shelves in November, with other markets to follow over possibly more than a year’s span.

The 65-inch display has been exhibited at a few trade shows (mostly in Japan) and a limited number of the five-foot-plus diagonal displays were introduced last fall in Asia for around $19,000. Panasonic said the recommended retail price will be noticeably lower for this upcoming market-by-market introduction, but did not provide price points. (Some HD-centric Web sites speculate that prices could fall to the $10,000 range, nearly half the price of a year ago, although that could be some wishful thinking.)

The 65-inch monitor (1,980 by 1,080p) will include a digital tuner. Estimates of annual power consumption show a 26 percent decrease over earlier models. Panasonic reportedly first plans to introduce a 50-inch HD display in the U.S. sometime next year, prior to offering the 65-inch model, which may not occur until 2007.

Samsung is currently working on PDP panel prototypes of 102- and 80-inches and reportedly will introduce a 63-inch HD display late next year. But according to flat-screen researcher DisplaySearch, Panasonic remains the top-selling PDP maker in Japan, North America and Europe. Panasonic plans to move up the opening of its Amagasaki fabrication plant in Japan by about two months, to October 2005, where it eventually will have a production capacity of 250,000 panels a month.

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