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Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Matsushita to Mass Produce 37 inch OLED TVs

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co isreportedly finalizing plans to mass-produce 37-inch organic light-emitting diode TVs in 2011, competing with Samsung and Sony in the next-generation flat-TV race.

The Sankei Shimbun daily reported on Tuesday that Matsushita would be the first to mass-produce OLED TVs of over 30 inches. The paper also said gave a 150,000 yen ($1,390) price tag for the new 37-inch OLED TVs.

Matsushita had announced last year that it would start commercial production of OLED panels for flat TVs in 2009. The panels would be released by Toshiba Matsushita Display, a joint venture owned 60 percent by Toshiba and the rest by Panasonic maker Matsushita. However, company's plans to join Sony in the OLED TV market had been shelved last December after problems moving from the research lab to mass production.

Commenting on the new report, Matsushita said the company was considering the commercialization of OLED TVs in the future, but it had not decided on any details including the launch timing or size.

OLED panels are said to be energy-efficient, make thin and light displays, and have strength in showing fast-moving images. However, they still have a product life less than existing LCD TVs. Makers also need to clear hurdles such as cutting production costs and maximizing screen size in order to begin mass-producing OLEDs.

Sony last November started selling the world's first OLED TVs with an 11-inch screen. Samsung is also planning to invest in OLED displays and offer its first larg OLED TVs in 2009-2010. The company claims that it has the technological ability to produce 40-inch AM OLEDs. A 31-inch AM OLED TV prototype was on display at CES 2008 in Las Vegas last January.

The Sankei report said Matsushita would start a production line exclusively for OLEDs at its new LCD panel factory that is being built in Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, in western Japan.

Matsushita, the world's No. 1 plasma TV maker, will also set up an OLED production line at the IPS Alpha Technology factory in Chiba Prefecture, the paper said. Matsushita owns a 30 percent stake in IPS Alpha, which makes large LCD panels.

In addition, Matsushita's LCD panel alliance with Hitachi - which is also developing organic light-emitting diode panels- could further help Matsushita enter the OLED market.

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