LCD HDTVs Get Bigger

The display market tracking firm WitsView announced that the number of LCD TV panels shipped in July increased 2.0% over June’s shipments. The company also reported that the total square footage of those panel shipments increased 4.2%. That can only mean one thing; the average LCD TV is getting bigger.

Another data point appeared yesterday, as Sharp announced two new products in their AQUOS model lineup. The LC-46D62U is a 46″ model, the LC-52D62U is 52″. Until recently, these sizes were owned by plasma TVs. Sharp’s new LCDs have true 1080p resolution of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels, while many plasmas in this size range have fewer pixels and have to “extrapolate” to achieve HD resolution images. The LCD prices are also going to be competitive with premium plasma models; the 46″ has a $3,499.99 MSRP, and the 52″ is at $4,799.99. Both are scheduled to ship in October, just in time for holiday buying.

LCDs already own the TV market below 40″, and have taken a significant part of the business away from plasma in the 40″ to 45″ range. Prices are falling faster for large LCDs than for plasmas, making them more competitive. And now the premium LCD makers are targeting the 45″ to 55″ segment of the market, because they stand a better chance of making more profit than they can down in the smaller sizes where the third tier brands have driven prices way down. These new Sharp models are just the bellwethers of a new shift from plasma to LCDs in the larger model sizes.