Sharp is 'Big' on HD Displays

According to Sharp, HD sets could have comprised nearly 60 percent of its total large-screen TV sales in Japan last year -- if the company had been able to meet the demand for bigger HD units as it grew through 2005. The firm said its "full-HD" (1920 x 1080) screens made up about 40 percent of its domestic Japanese sales in the last calendar year.

Sharp said it plans to offer LCD HD monitors of least 37 inches for the Japanese market this year. Overseas rollouts to North America of the same or larger screen models would follow. The difference between LCD and plasma screens will be underscored in a planned Sharp marketing campaign (which it did not divulge).

For smaller 32-inch screens, Sharp hopes to grow its output capacity to roughly 20 million annually by 2008. That would constitute a 10 percent share of the 200 million unit global market that Sharp is forecasting for 2008 and beyond (although market demand globally appears to be changing now to screens larger than 32 inches.) In the U.S., flat panels up to 50 inches are rising in popularity, as price points continue downward.