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HDTV clicks with Matsushita

The company will begin making digital television sets in the United States and United Kingdom for the fall launch of digital TV.

Matsushita Electric will begin making digital television sets in the United States and United Kingdom in preparation for November's much-anticipated launch of high-definition digital TV broadcasting.

Most famous for its Panasonic and Technics brands, the company will begin manufacturing high-definition digital TVs (HDTV) at its San Diego-based subsidiary, Matsushita Industrial of Baja California, sources told the Nihon Keizai Shimbun. Starting in October, the division will also produce set-top boxes to receive digital signals, Japan's largest business daily reported.

In Britain, Matsushita's South Wales will start producing TVs with built-in digital signal decoders, as well as set-top boxes for a satellite broadcasting service that British Interactive Broadcasting is slated to offer starting next spring.

Localized production of the sets will allow the company to more easily produce TVs that meet each region's broadcasting standards, the report said.

Digital television is set to air for the first time this fall, when the top ten markets begin digital broadcasting. HDTVs, paired with a set-top box to decode the digital signal, will be capable of displaying pictures with significantly greater clarity than current TVs.

Earlier this week, the company announced it was set to begin shipping a 56-inch HDTVs to dealers.