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Five TV Makers Unite To Push Plasma

Five plasma TV panel makers have formed a coalition to promote the growth of the technology in the U.S. and dispel lingering misconceptions about plasma TV.
MANHASSET, N.Y. — Five plasma TV panel manufacturers have formed a coalition to promote the growth of the technology in the U.S. and dispel lingering misconceptions about plasma TV.

Called the Plasma Display Coalition, the group initially comprises Hitachi Home Electronics, LG Electronics USA, Panasonic Corp. of North America, Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. and Samsung Electronics USA.

Together the companies, and their parent organizations, have invested more than $10 billion in the R&D, design, manufacturing and marketing of plasma TV over the past decade.

"The effort of the Coalition is to promote the growth of plasma TV in the U.S., respond to consumer and retailer desires for more accurate information on plasma TV, and correct myths about plasma TV's affordability and features," said Jim Palumbo, the President of the Plasma Display Coalition.

"With plasma TV's many technology advantages and key benefits, each of our members is excited about the potential for plasma TV as consumers embrace this new flat panel display technology," Palumbo added.

The coalition is expected to conduct performance and testing projects, the results of which are intended to help retailers communicate and consumers better understand the many benefits of plasma TV.

On the surface, the plasma display industry is going through a boom period. Sales of plasma TVs have soared as prices have fallen, and at least one analyst has predicted possible near-term shortages. Many plasma display suppliers have announced plans to expand capacity.

Still, the technology is seen by some as expensive and the subject of concerns such as long-term image quality. And, plasma TVs face competition from rear-projection TV technologies in screen sizes over 50 inches and could be squeezed by liquid crystal display (LCD) technology in the 40-inch range in the near future.

Moreover, steep production costs and fiscal problems, particularly among Japanese display makers, have precipitated a year-long shakeout in the plasma display market.

The most recent casualty is Japan-based Pioneer Corp., who last week announced it would slash plasma display production to help stem losses.

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