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Sony gives up on plasma

Sony has announced plans to exit the plasma TV market. The company has been facing increasing pressure in the market and it doesn't own any plasma display panel (PDP) plants to support its business. Sales for Sony PDPs for fiscal year 2005 were down 67% compared to the year before and the company has failed to disclose its targets for the current fiscal year.  Coupled with the enormous amount of backing Sony has committed to LCD, the move to exit the plasma market was almost inevitable.

With PDPs now out of the picture, Sony can now focus its efforts entirely on LCD TV production where it has seen much success. Back in February, DailyTech reported that Sony was number one in global sales for LCD TVs for Q4 2005. To keep up the momentum, Sony and Samsung invested $2 billion USD into the expansion of their jointly owned 7G LCD facility. The investment increased monthly production by 50,000 units per month. Sony is seeing large profit margins for LCD TV panels of 40" and above so the company is focusing on that sector of the market and is preparing for 8G. DigiTimes reports:

In a bid to secure more panels with which to win the large-size TV battle, Sony has signed a contract for the construction of an eighth-generation (8G) TFT-LCD production line through S-LCD, a joint venture with Samsung in July. The new plant is targeted to start production in fall 2007, with a monthly capacity of 50,000 glass substrates.

Earlier this year, Sony had to issue a recall for over 400,000 of its Bravia flat-screen and Grand Wega rear-projection LCD televisions. It was found that affected models wouldn't turn off after prolonged usage.

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RE: Quality
By RussianSensation on 8/7/2006 7:00:51 PM , Rating: 3
1. Plasma's have 60,000 hours lifespan. If you plan to keep your TV for that long, then I would assume it is a problem. On the other hand DLP, and projection LCD require $250-300 lamp replacement every 8-10,000 hours. So once you start adding up the cost, it really isn't in favour of LCDs, DLPs, etc.

2. If you've ever watched standard, non-HDTV, on an LCD you'll quickly notice it cannot compare to plasma and the images appear really grainy. You can see that the dots on the LCD do not refresh fast enough with new colour.

3. At the end of the day, it can be argued that none of the HDTVs today can offer good image quality. Why so? Because majority of TV channels are not in HDTV (maybe 10-15 in canada for example). Not to mention Blu-Ray and and HD-DVD have ridiculous premiums. Just like most technology, be it dual core processors, 64-bit computing and high definition TVs, until it becomes mainstream (i.e. most ppl own it), you cant really take advantage of it since either the software, the singal feed or the media is just not up to the level where it needs to be to justify the investment.

RE: Quality
By feelingshorter on 8/7/2006 8:18:41 PM , Rating: 2
I doubt plasma's last that long or maby they improved. I remember a while back that plasmas would just die out after 2-3 years. LCDs dont appear grainy. Perhaps you were comparing it to a low quality LCD. LCDs for computers are improving a lot too, with much faster refresh times. I had a friend who used a 32inch ViewSonic TV as his main computer screen to watch movies, play games, etc. Works great.

RE: Quality
By kkwst2 on 8/8/2006 2:04:11 AM , Rating: 2
Well, I've had a plasma for 2 years and I have not noticed any decrease in brightness. Brightness has been set on a few bars below 50% from day one and it's still beautiful and easy to watch in a sunny room. I'm sure life is only getting better on newer sets.

A 32 inch lcd tv has only 768 vertical resolution (maybe some have 1080, but not the viewsonic). Unless you're computing from 10-15 feet away, this stinks. IMO, his money would have been better spent on a 24" LCD monitor from Dell, which would usually be cheaper. But to each his own.

RE: Quality
By Fnoob on 8/7/2006 9:24:16 PM , Rating: 2
At the end of the day, it can be argued that none of the HDTVs today can offer good image quality


I've been in the market for a sub $3K ~40" panel for a few months, and I've come to the following disappointed conclusion:

We are all getting milked for old, dated-tech inventory that must be cleared out. That explains the dearth of 1080p support from all conspiring manufacturers. Once sales get stagnant enough to convince them they've squeezed us enough, they will roll out the new eye candy to get us clamouring again.

Seriously, if Apple (and recently Dell) have had ~2500x1500 available for quite some time, why not Sony, LG, etc by now? Seems it would be easier to produce that resolution in a 40+" panel than a 30". Dammit, I want a $3K+ display to be better than this Dell2405.

I've not truly been "wowed" yet out of my money. But, please do bring it on...

RE: Quality
By masher2 on 8/7/2006 9:31:32 PM , Rating: 2
> "if Apple (and recently Dell) have had ~2500x1500 available for quite some time, why not Sony, LG, etc by now? "

What good would that resolution do you in an HDTV, given its nearly impossible to find 1080p material...and anything above that is nonexistent, and likely to be for some time.

Honestly, the whole resolution issue is getting far too much attention...mostly from people who don't actually have a set, and aren't likely to for some time. The incremental image quality difference between 720p/1080i and 1080p is tiny at best, and can be more than outweighed by other factors, such as contrast ratio, color fidelity, response time, etc. And *all* those factors are heavily dependent on the quality and nature of the source video itself.

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