Matsushita Announces New Display Factory, Products

TOKYO (06/13/2000) - Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. announced plans Tuesday to establish a new company to manufacturer Plasma Display Panels (PDPs) and detailed a new 42-inch PDP-based television it plans to put on sale in Japan next month.

Matsushita, which is better known by its Panasonic brand name, said Matsushita Plasma Display Production Co. Ltd. (MPDP) will be established on July 1. The new company will be based in Ibaraki City close to Matsushita's corporate headquarters in Osaka and become the company's manufacturing base for PDPs.

Commercial production is expected to begin in June 2001, Matsushita said in the statement.

PDPs are being positioned by many electronics manufacturers as a digital television-age replacement for the cathode ray tube, currently found in millions of televisions worldwide. They have received an indifferent reception from the public who are excited over their size, often just a few centimeters thick, but turned off by their high price. A new PDP-based television also announced Tuesday by Matsushita is cheaper than previous models although still a long way from the holy grail of PDP production -- a panel price of $100 per diagonal inch.

The new 42 inch wide screen PDP television will go on sale in Japan on July 15 and be priced at 1.1 million yen (US$10,280). A month later the company will put on the market a stand-alone monitor unit based on the same panel.

Specifications of the new television include a panel luminance of 650 candelas per square meter, set luminance of 400 candelas per square meter, contrast ratio of 3,000:1, power consumption of 295 watts and a digital image processor that allows the display of high definition and standard definition images.

Matsushita said the luminance, contrast and power consumption of the new set are all best-in-industry figures.

The television measures 102 centimeters by 61 centimeters by 8.9 centimeters and weighs a hefty 29.5 kilograms.

Matsushita, in Tokyo, can be found online at http://www.mei.co.jp/.

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