New TVs designed to win back consumers for Japanese brands

April 20, 2012

TOKYO, April 20 — As their international rivals ramp up their offering, Japanese home electronics companies are devising a new generation of televisions.

Domestic giant Sharp Corp has this week unveiled a new line of large televisions that utilise liquid crystal display panels. The newest additions to the Aquos brand indicate a shift to meet growing demand for larger LCD televisions.

An employee of Sharp Corp introduces its new 80-inch LCD TV from the Aquos Quattron series. — AFP picAn employee of Sharp Corp introduces its new 80-inch LCD TV from the Aquos Quattron series. — AFP picThe new TV G line includes an 80-inch version — the largest on the Japanese market — that will retail for around Y950,000 (RM36,000). A more manageable 60-inch variant will cost Y350,000, the company said.

As well as acting as a conventional television, some of the models benefit from functions that allow users to browse the Internet and link to Skype and social network sites such as Facebook.

Sharp’s announcement coincides with reports that Sony Corp is in talks with AU Optronics Corp of Taiwan to develop the next generation of television sets, equipped with organic electroluminescent displays.

The new displays provide high-definition images but use relatively little power.

Sony — which has struggled in recent years to make its television business profitable and earlier this month reported an overall loss of Y520 billion for fiscal 2011 — previously collaborated with South Korea’s Samsung to produce LCD panels, but the products remained relatively expensive as cheaper versions began to hit the market and the price of flat-screen TVs fell.

To get its televisions division back at the forefront of consumer demand, Sony intends to focus on organic EL TVs and anticipates that demand will be 13 times the level of today within three years.

It has some catching up to do, however, as Samsung and LG Electronics Inc, also of South Korea, have both announced that they will be able to release 55-inch organic EL televisions before the end of the year.

The data indicates that domestic demand for these new television sets is there. The Nikkei Marketing Journal in late March reported that, thanks to falling prices, sales of televisions with screens of 50 inches or larger doubled in February over the previous year. The main purchasers are people replacing the flat-screen digital TVs they purchased four or five years ago. — AFP-Relaxnews