Samsung Breaks LCD Barrier With 70-Inch Screen

Samsung Electronics on Sunday announced the first 70-inch LCD panel aimed at the consumer marketplace.

Until now, Sharp offered the largest LCD TV screen, at 65 inches. Samsung will demonstrate its 70-inch LCD HDTV at the International Meeting on Information Displays 2006, which will open in Daegu, Korea, on Wednesday.

The 70-inch LCD breakthrough is reflection of the manufacturing capacity that Samsung has been building, particularly through its joint venture with Sony, according to Paul Seminza, vice president with iSuppli.

“The size of the substrate you start with determines how big a panel you can make,” Seminza told TechNewsWorld. “These new factories allow manufacturers to make multiple large panels and to make them more efficiently.”

Pushing the Envelope

Samsung has been aggressively pushing the LCD envelope this year. The firm’s latest LCD panel comes with full, high-definition resolution (1080p) and a conical viewing angle of 180 degrees for multi-viewing audiences.

The panel’s video signal is reproduced at 120 Hz, compared to a video signal of 60 Hz for a conventional, full HD LCD panel, the company said. This enables rapidly moving video images to be reproduced with greater clarity than older models.

Samsung will begin manufacturing the new 70-inch LCD during the first half of 2007. With the introduction of the 70-inch LCD TV, analysts said the company will be in a position to compete head-to-head with plasma display panel (PDP) and projection TV makers.

Projection vs. Plasma vs. LCD

Projection TV makers have traditionally cornered the market for 70-inch and larger screens using rear projection. Manufacturing of rear projection screens does not require new plants to handle larger components.

Plasma screens got a jump on LCDs because the technology does not have the same limitations in terms of scaling up as LCDs. Plasma screens, though, are typically more expensive to manufacture, hence higher consumer prices.

Seminza expects Samsung and others to continue making larger and larger LCD screens — at least in the near term — simply because they can. The question is whether the market will be large enough to justify the extra-large products, which are typically very expensive and take up more space than many households might have available.

Exploring New Markets

Even though analysts expect the prices to come down, the space issue may halt the widespread adoption of large screen LCD and plasma TVs. The public information market, though, could help fill the void.

“If manufacturers can demonstrate that having a large panel showing advertisements in a mall has good returns on the investment, then it’s much more reasonable to spend (US)$50,000 on a TV,” Seminza said. “There is a lot of potential in putting these large screens in shopping areas, transportation centers, conference halls and hotels.”

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