From: Reuters
Published February 5, 2008 06:55 AM

Matsushita to offer thinner, greener plasma TVs

AMAGASAKI, Japan (Reuters) - Panasonic maker Matsushita said it planned to start selling plasma TVs next year that consume half as much power as its current models.

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co Ltd also said it had developed a plasma TV just 24.7 mm (1 inch) thick -- quarter the thickness of its standard model, and it will start using this technology in products in the business year from April 2009.

Matsushita is the world's largest maker of plasma TVs, in which it competes with Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and LG Electronics Inc.

The company is building the world's largest plasma panel plant, in western Japan, at a cost of 280 billion yen ($2.6 billion) to cement its market-leading position.

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The plant will use sheets of motherglass that can yield 16 42-inch panels per sheet, raising its production efficiency, Matsushita Senior Managing Director Toshihiro Sakamoto told a news conference.

The motherglass used at its most recent plant can yield eight 42-inch panels.

"At 2,280mm by 3,920mm, it's even bigger than the sheets used at a 10th-generation LCD plant," Sakamoto said.

Sharp Corp, the world's third-largest liquid crystal display TV maker after Samsung and Sony Corp, is building a 380 billion yen LCD panel plant that will be the world's first to use 10th-generation glass measuring 2,850mm by 3,050mm.

Shares in Matsushita closed up 1.3 percent at 2,370 yen, outperforming the Nikkei average, which fell 0.8 percent.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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