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Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Sharp Takes on Plasma with 57-inch LCD TV

Sharp said on Tuesday it would launch a 57-inch liquid crystal display (LCD) television in December, taking aim at a segment of the fast-growing flat TV market now dominated by plasma technology.

Sharp, the world's largest LCD TV maker, said it hoped the new model would help boost its presence in large TVs. It already has 45- and 65-inch models on the market but has had nothing in the 50-60 inch range.

The Osaka-based electronics maker also unveiled a new 37-inch LCD TV which it will launch in Japan on October 21.

Both models meet full high-definition (HD) specifications, meaning they are able to produce images at the highest standard of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels resolution. This is seen as a key feature given the spread of terrestrial digital broadcasting.

Matsushita Electric Industrial plans to launch a full HD 65-inch plasma TV in November, but hurdles inherent in plasma technology have prevented plasma TV makers from introducing a full HD panel for the 40- or 50-inch ranges.

Sharp set the suggested retail price of the 57-inch set relatively high at 1.52 million yen. That is out of reach for most consumers and about 50 percent higher than Matsushita's new 65-inch plasma model, which is due to sell for about 990,000 yen in Japan.

Sharp said it would initially produce about 1,000 of the 57-inch TVs each month for the Japan market but that output would eventually reach between 2,000 and 3,000 units. It plans to launch the set in North America in February.

Other global markets would follow, it said.

Sharp said it expected the 37-inch set to retail for about 546,000 yen in Japan.

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