Thursday, December 23, 2004

Sony Says Not Leaving U.S. Plasma TV Market

Wed Dec 22, 2004 06:32 PM ET

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sony Corp. (6758.T: Quote, Profile, Research) on Wednesday said it had no plans to abandon the market for plasma-screen television sets in the United States in the near term, though it did not say specifically what its intentions were internationally.

"Sony has absolutely no intention of abandoning our plasma television business in the U.S. in 2005 or the foreseeable future," Sony Electronics said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for Sony Electronics said she could only comment for the United States and that corporate representatives in Japan were not available to comment.

Earlier this week Sony representatives in Japan said the company may consider abandoning the market for plasma TVs at some point in the future but for the time being would continue to make the TV sets.

Japanese media had reported that Sony, the No. 2 plasma TV maker, could pull out of that market as soon as the spring of 2005.

Sony executives have said they will focus their attention in future on Liquid Crystal Display, or LCD television sets, a different technology than plasma that up to now has been used primarily for smaller screens.

Plasma sets use tiny pockets of gases to display images, while LCDs use crystals sandwiched between glass. Prices have fallen steadily on both though they remain more expensive than traditional TVs with retail prices starting at over $2,000 in the United States.

Sony has a joint venture with Samsung Electronics (005930.KS: Quote, Profile, Research) for mass LCD production starting in 2005. By contrast, it has to source all of its plasma panels from outside manufacturers.

© Reuters 2004. All Rights Reserved.


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