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Westinghouse Digital president sees 2005 as ‘watershed’ year for LCD TV

LCD televisions are poised to replace CRT-based sets as consumers consider their options for HD viewing, according to Westinghouse Digital Electronics President Douglas Woo.

Making the case at the mid-November Flat Information Displays Conference in San Francisco, Woo said the primary advantage of LCD TVs is the product’s ability to decrease in price and approach a price closer to CRTs faster than other TV technologies.

As an example, Woo said Westinghouse Digital’s 27in model has dropped 56 percent in 11 months — from $2499 in January 2004 to a current street price as low as $1199. In 2005, Woo expects aggressive price compression to continue for the most popular LCD TVs — 27in- to 37in — due to dramatic reductions in panel, component and assembly costs. Price reductions will lead to shortened product life cycles, continuous new product introductions and a wider range in feature sets between brands and models. The current blurring of IT and consumer electronics products is another factor driving LCD TV growth, he said.

LCD TV price compression won’t translate into smaller retailer margins, he said, because panel makers wishing to capture market share will protect margins. The success of LCD TVs will also rely upon retailers in promoting the product and meeting consumers’ needs, such as providing installation, wall mounting services and access to high-definition sources like satellite boxes, HD antennas and cable subscriptions, Woo said.

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