Wed, Jan 04, 2006 - Page 10 News List

Larger LCD-TVs will be the mainstream this year

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Thirty-two inch models are expected to be the most popular for liquid-crystal-display (LCD) televisions this year, fueled by attractive pricing and their suitability for living rooms, analysts and vendors said yesterday.

"This is the year for 32-inch LCD-TVs, as they are an ideal fit in living rooms to replace bulky traditional cathode-ray-tube TVs," said Lee Kuo-ting (李國鼎), an industry analyst with the Taipei-based researcher Market Intelligence Center (市場情報中心).

Last year, flat-panel models measuring 30 inches or smaller, including 26-inch models, took center stage in the local market as consumers purchased TVs for their bedrooms or studies, he added.

Sampo Corp (聲寶), one of the nation's leading home appliance makers, jumped onto the LCD-TV bandwagon along with Taiwan Kolin Co (歌林) and Teco Group (東元集團). Earlier this year, Sampo estimated that local LCD-TV demand will rise to around 350,000 units this year, up from 250,000 units a year ago.

However, Lee said that consumers who expect steep price declines for 32-inch models this year will be disappointed.

"Since prices of 32-inch panels were stable in the second half of last year, there will only be marginal price declines this year," he said.

Currently, 32-inch LCD-TVs are sold for between NT$30,000 and NT$40,000 (US$913 to US$1,218) for local brands, and around NT$60,000 for imported brands.

According to Lee, 36- and 40-inch models will become the mainstream next year, but it will depend on the panel production capacity of South Korean and Japanese suppliers.

Eying the trend, the Teco Group will also bank on its LCD-TV lineup to grab a larger market share this year.

"Though 32-inch will take much of the market share this year, growth of larger-sized screens such as 37 or 40 inches will gradually surpass 32 inches to become the mainstream in the future," said Eugene Huang (黃育仁), vice executive of IT and optronics product sector for the Teco Group.

Teco is poised to unveil an upgraded 40-inch model this month, which will be priced at around NT$70,000.

Huang made the remarks at a press conference yesterday announcing Teco's participation in this year's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where it will talk to potential partners for original design manufacturing (ODM).

Industry sources said that the company fell far short of its target of LCD-TV shipments of 200,000 units last year. Refusing to disclose the exact volume, Huang said that Teco failed to meet its target as a result of the weaker performance of smaller TVs.

"However, we expect the volume to double this year, with a better sales performance than last year's NT$2.7 billion," he said.

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