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Sony bets on flat-screen TVs for financial boost

Flat-screen television sales will be the engine of growth this year for Sony Electronics in the United States, the president of the financially troubled consumer electronics manufacturer predicted last week.

Sony expects its flat-screen TV sets, such as the KZ-32TS1 plasma display pictured here, to drive revenue and increase sales by the end of 2003.

“This year the driving force is going to be the (television) display business,” Hideki Komiyama, Sony’s president, said in New York last week. He also predicted that traditional televisions would remain a strong revenue driver for the manufacturer.

Sony expects revenue for flat-screen TV sets—including high-definition and other digital TV screens— to rise to about 30 percent of its total U.S. television sales in the fiscal year ending early in 2004. Last year, that increase was 10 percent.

“(That is) because we have a CRT business,” he said. “So we wish for a transfer that is reasonable.”

New industry sales figures from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) indicate that 1.4 million DTV products were sold in the second quarter of 2003 with dollar revenues of more than $2.1 billion. During June, factory-to-dealer sales of DTV products totaled 365,210 units with dollar revenues of some $524.1 million. These figures represent an increase of 110 percent in product sales and 81 percent in revenue, compared to June 2002.

CEA defines DTV products as integrated sets and monitors displaying active vertical scanning lines of at least 480p and, in the case of integrated sets, receiving and decoding ATSC terrestrial digital broadcasts.

“Provided we continue to see more HD programming and more broadcast stations on the air transmitting a full-power digital signal, we will continue to see that ATSC receiving units figure rise,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association.

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