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Toshiba Set to Use Sharp LCD Panels in Its Televisions

by December 21, 2007
What Do You Get When You Cross...?

What Do You Get When You Cross...?

You know LCD television production is getting to be a tough business model when you see two rival Japanese companies coming together out of nowhere to share technologies. On Friday, December 21, 2007 Toshiba announced they will be purchasing their LCD panels from Sharp. As part of an alliance that has many in this business stepping back and waiting for frogs to start hailing down from above, Sharp will reciprocate by purchasing more computer chips for use in LCDs from Toshiba.

There are a couple of observations that can be made from this announcement. First of all, Sharp's new thin LCD panel technology - which failed to materialize at CEDIA 2007 to our shagrin and utter astonishment - is impressive. At least it is impressive by the numbers. A 3/4-inch thin LCD panel is nothing to sneeze at - especially when Toshiba's newest 46-inch REGZA display measured in at nearly 6-inches thick and had me wondering if they had somehow missed the class on how to make LCD panels thin in this age of wall-mounting and streamlining. Thin is in.

The second observation I must make is that Toshiba uses very mediocre video display processing chips. Let's hope that Sharp takes advantage of their THINC networking technology and goes elsewhere for deinterlacing, motion adaptive noise reduction and scaling.

Looking at this recent move, the biggest players in the world of LCD are now Sharp, Samsung and Sony. And Samsung is already working with both Sony and Hitachi. Hitachi, on the other hand is rumored to be selling out its stake with Matsushita (Panasonic) which effectively takes it out of the LCD panel production business. Matsushita, perhaps seeing the writing on the wall of plasma technology (at which it excels) is looking to get more into LCD, and hit it hard.

As prices drop, and companies consolidate, the future is uncertain, but consumers should safely remain optimistic that panel prices will continue to drop. New technologies like OLED will be slow to market and will, by necessity, have to be positioned as higher-end alternatives in order to compete and reach a mass production level sufficient to allow prices to drop even remotely close to current LCD and plasma levels.

All things being equal, 2008 should be yet another good year to buy a flat panel TV.

About the author:
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Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

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Recent Forum Posts:

Clint DeBoer posts on December 22, 2007 21:44
When Pioneer starts plugging LCD you'll know it's about over. There's a good bit of time until that happens. Eventually, however I dn't see plasma hanging on forever.
allargon posts on December 22, 2007 11:08
Hi Ho, post: 346407
That is interesting news. To go a little off topic, I must be living under a rock. Why on earth would Panasonic switch to LCD from Plasma? They do so well at plasma and I have yet to see any LCD that matches, much less surpasses the picture quality of a plasma.

Panasonic has to hedge their bets. They got out of the rear projection market. The average consumer prefers the washed out, overly bright inaccurate colors that pop from a LCD in tourch mode to the natural more realistic colors of a plasma.
gus6464 posts on December 22, 2007 05:46
Hi Ho, post: 346407
That is interesting news. To go a little off topic, I must be living under a rock. Why on earth would Panasonic switch to LCD from Plasma? They do so well at plasma and I have yet to see any LCD that matches, much less surpasses the picture quality of a plasma.

When did Panasonic switch from Plasma to LCD? Last I heard they were supporting Plasma in full force.
Hi Ho posts on December 21, 2007 22:50
That is interesting news. To go a little off topic, I must be living under a rock. Why on earth would Panasonic switch to LCD from Plasma? They do so well at plasma and I have yet to see any LCD that matches, much less surpasses the picture quality of a plasma.
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