Hitachi pushes plasma TVs for homes

Along with the reduction in size, the price will also fall to somewhere between 500,000 yen and 600,000 yen (around $7300 and $8800).

Hitachi said it decided to make the 32-inch model because that size had emerged as the most popular among large-screen TV buyers. Until now, most manufacturers selling PDP-based televisions have been using 40-inch or 42-inch panels. These have been selling in small quantities to companies for use as display panels in building reception areas and other public spaces, and occasionally to wealthy videophiles -- applications which demand a large screen size.

The decision to sell a smaller set is part of the company's attempt to increase sales by getting the sets into more ordinary homes, which generally don't have the space for a 42-inch television. This is expected to in turn help reduce price.

The company's move to popularise its PDP products comes a month after Sharp began selling a new range of liquid crystal display (LCD) television sets at lower prices. Sharp said at the time that it plans to switch completely away from cathode ray tube (CRT) sets to LCD televisions by 2005. The television comes in two parts: the monitor section and audiovisual control station, which includes the tuner and associated picture-processing circuits. The separate parts also help Hitachi in marketing the sets overseas, where the company needs only to change the AV control station. Image resolution on the new panel is 850 pixels by 1,024 pixels, and the entire display unit is just 9 centimetres deep.

In the future, Hitachi said it plans to produce a 37-inch high-definition plasma television and is expecting to use the European market as a launchpad to worldwide sales of PDP-based televisions.

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