Samsung Thinks Big for HDTV

Samsung announced last week that it intends to produce 70″ 1080p LCD HDTVs starting in February. This is made possible by the fact that they have their second Gen 7 plant running, which is capable of producing 1 million 70″ panels per year. We could see these new models on the market as early as March.

This announcement is just another volley in LCD’s continued attack on larger screen sizes. They have already displaced plasma from the 42″ and smaller sizes, and are making progress in sizes up to 50″ by having competitive prices even at those sizes. The demand for larger sizes is increasing, and I believe that this is a factor of both the lower prices and the realization by consumers that you really need to have a much larger screen than you might initially think when you want to watch 1080p images. This move to larger panels does eat up lots of production resources; that same Gen 7 line that produces a million 70″ panels could be used to produce 4 million 35″ panels. So the LCD manufacturers have the capacity to flood the world with displays. The question now is how many of these displays and at what sizes will the market be able to absorb. And the key to that answer is tied directly to how much the manufacturers need to charge for them.