Matsushita to broaden LCD TV lineup

Company says plasma is still central to its lineup of large TVs, but modifies its policy by offering 37-inch LCD TVs.

Panasonic maker Matsushita Electric Industrial, the world's largest plasma television supplier, said it will launch 37-inch LCD TVs in September, modifying its policy of covering demand for 37-inch and larger flat TVs with plasma models.

Matsushita has been offering LCD TVs for the market of 32-inch and smaller flat televisions, while catering to demand for larger flat TVs mainly with plasma models, missing out on strong growth in demand for large LCD TVs.

The 37-inch full high-definition LCD TV will go on sale in Japan on September 1 for an estimated price of $2,508 (300,000 yen). Osaka-based Matsushita aims to offer the model in overseas markets by the end of the year.

Plasma TVs once dominated the large-screen flat-TV market with lower prices and a more-natural picture quality. They have lost ground as LCD TV makers have been able to roll out bigger models at cheaper prices by introducing larger and more cost-efficient production lines.

Global LCD TV sales grew 54 percent from a year ago to $13.6 billion from January through March, while plasma TV sales fell 9 percent to $3.6 billion during the same period, according to data from DisplaySearch.

But Matsushita, which competes with Samsung Electronics and Sony in the $82 billion global flat-TV market, said on Thursday it has no plan to abandon its basic strategy of covering demand for big-screen TVs with plasma.

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