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Plasma coalition says sales are up over last year


After a terrible 2009 plasma manufacturers seem to have turned their fortunes around, shipping more TVs in the early months of 2011 than they did last year. Having large sizes and features like 3D is nice, but interestingly the CEA stats nearly two thirds of plasma sales are accounted for by 720p displays. While our focus is usually on the higher end sets, we know from experience the draw of large sets for cheap is a major driver in sales, and now you know why manufacturers keep selling them. Beyond that there's plenty of analyst blather to consider in the press release after the break, but if you were feeling insecure about the flat panel battle there are some positive numbers to focus on.

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June 21, 2011, 2:00 p.m. EDT
Plasma HDTV Sales Break Away From the Pack With Strong Showing Year-to-Date 2011 Sales
LG Electronics and Panasonic Now Offer 37 Different Plasma Models With Growing Appeal From New Features, Energy Efficiency and Affordability

NEW YORK, NY, Jun 21, 2011 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- With the second quarter of 2011 drawing to a close, sales trends look exceptionally positive for Plasma High-Definition TV. Plasma sales are accelerating as the result of 3D features in more models and "value for the inch" as compared to competing technologies such as CCFL and LED-backlit LCD products. The better performing Plasma TVs are not only selling at a faster clip, they're also leading the way with even greater energy efficiency than past years.

"While Plasma displays have long been the preferred screens in the test labs of industry reviewers, many home entertainment specialists also agree that Plasma HDTV provides outstanding picture performance through superior picture contrast, exceptionally deep black levels, and crisp resolution even in fast-motion scenes," said Jim Palumbo, President of the Plasma Display Coalition. "With the introduction of lifelike 3D Plasma displays coupled with more affordable products, Plasma HDTV is continuing to top the large-screen sales charts. Several 2011 Plasma HDTVs also meet the new more stringent ENERGY STAR 5.3 requirements, which recognize top performers in their size classes," he added.

Panasonic and LG Electronics, two members of the Plasma Display Coalition, are committed to the success of Plasma HDTV products. Panasonic currently offers 19 Plasma models, ranging from a 42-inch 720p set to a 65-inch Full HD 1080p 3D TV, while LG Electronics has 18 models now available, ranging from a 42-inch 720p set to a 60-inch Full HD 1080p 3D TV.

First Quarter Acceleration Consumer electronics industry market research experts agree that Plasma is reaping the benefits of new technology and better "inch for inch" value.

"According to CEA's CE MarketMetrics program, U.S. shipments of Plasma TV sets between January and May 2011 topped one million units at a faster clip than last year. CEA's shipment data reports also show the exceptional strength of high-definition 720p technology, which currently accounts for nearly two-thirds of overall Plasma sales," said Steve Koenig, Director of Industry Analysis for the Consumer Electronics Association, which tracks sales from manufacturers into retail stores.

Tamaryn Pratt, Principal at Quixel Research, notes that "consumers continue to benefit from the affordability of Plasma models, in particular the very large 60-inch and larger category. The percentage of HDTV sets sold with Plasma technology is growing, not shrinking, with Plasma sales achieving a 12 percent year-over-year revenue gain in the first quarter. In fact, Plasma sales in the first quarter of 2011 rose to almost 900,000 units, with particular strength in 720p models."

NPD, which tracks sell-through data at retail, agrees. NPD tracking of January through April data shows steady growth for Plasma. When rounded off, NPD data shows a sell-through of one million units as opposed to 805,000 for the same period in 2010. This represents a growth of 25 percent. In contrast, NPD reports that LCD units grew two percent in the same period.

Ken Park, Display Search Senior Analyst for Korea TV Market Research affirms the positive results. "With 3D functionality, Plasma can re-position itself as a lasting technology in the TV industry," Park says.

Bigger, Better and Even More Energy Efficient "Energy consumption is top of mind with all TV technologies and consumers can have peace of mind with their Plasma HDTVs," added Palumbo. Plasma HDTVs from LG Electronics and Panasonic use substantially less energy than comparable products just a few years ago.

For example, a new high-performance 42-inch plasma is ENERGY STAR rated at 69 watts, as compared to a similar model in the same screen size that drew 158 watts in 2008 -- a reduction of nearly 60% in power usage. Several 2011 Plasma HDTVs meet the new more stringent ENERGY STAR 5.3 requirements as top performers in their size classes.

Better yet, consumers will now be able to see exactly how much they will annually pay for electricity to enjoy the best possible home entertainment experience.

"The Plasma Display Coalition and its members welcome and support the new EnergyGuide yellow labels that are required on all TVs starting this spring. The familiar guide, which can already be found on home appliances, now shows apples-to-apples comparisons for all types of TV technologies," Palumbo said.

"There's been a lot of misinformation published about the energy use of Plasma HDTV sets, particularly when they are in standby mode. But today's plasma sets use less than a dollar per year in electricity when in standby. That's less than the cost of one cup of coffee. And when in use, today's large-screen Plasma HDTVs typically cost as little as $14 to $35 per year to operate. That's HDTV quality on a flat panel screen which is more than 50 percent bigger than the old 27-inch or 36-inch tubes of the past -- but using only one-third the energy of the old standard resolution sets. This is a remarkable advance that deserves attention," Palumbo concluded.

About the Plasma Display Coalition The Plasma Display Coalition (PDC) promotes the growth of Plasma HDTV in the United States and encourages the understanding of the benefits and future potential of Plasma HDTV. Founding members are LG Electronics USA and Panasonic Corporation of North America.

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