LCD TV Prices to Dive Even Lower in 2008
While all the focus in consumer tech is on Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD let's not forget the other ongoing format war: LCD vs. plasma TV. While the high-definition disc war makes trouble for consumers (which format to choose?) the competition in flat panel displays only helps us because continued efficiencies in manufacturing processes make these TVs more affordable.
Look no further than the report by research firm DisplaySearch on the expected drop in prices for larger-size LCD panels in the coming years. To this point, the plasma TV makers, and primarily Panasonic, have counted on LCD being too expensive in the larger screen sizes, basically 37 inches diagonally and above. Now, if DisplaySearch is right, by 2010 production costs for a 32-inch HD LCD TV will drop below $400, a 42-inch full HD panel to below $600 and a 52-inch full HD panel to below $1,000. (Note: production costs don't necessary equate to final costs on the retail store shelves.)
Plasma TV proponents have maintained that for screen sizes 37 inches and above their technology is the best – both in terms of cost and quality. LCD has dominated the smaller screen sizes – meaning everything from small screens on digital cameras and cell phones to TVs measuring up to 32-inches diagonally – but the real test is to go large.
Companies like Sharp are counting on diving LCD prices and expansion into the larger sizes – and ultimately into consumers' homes. Sony stopped marketing plasma TV in 2006, instead banking on LCD. Samsung and Panasonic, among others, market both kinds of devices – but it is no secret that Panasonic has bet its future on large plasma displays coming out on top.
If the plasma TV manufacturers are not able to similarly push their production costs down in the coming years, will this mark the end of their dominance in the larger screen sizes? Only time will tell.
We expect prices to drop for both technologies, whether due to manufacturing efficiency or retail competition. The consumer benefits. Stay tuned.