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Plasma Panel Shipments See Q3 Growth

Austin, Texas — Plasma panel makers continue to report strong growth with third-quarter 2008 plasma panel shipments rising 18 percent quarter to quarter and 37 percent year to year to nearly 4.2 million units, the second highest quarterly shipment total ever and 6 percent higher than expected, according to the latest DisplaySearch Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report, Plasma and LCD TV Panel Shipment Module.

Demand continues to be strong for plasma TVs worldwide due to attractive price points and increasing availability of high-definition content, and the 2008 shipment target of 15.5 million units is on target.

Meanwhile, DisplaySearch said the share of 1080p plasma panel unit shipments remained over 20 percent, after seeing strong growth in the second quarter, rising to a record 856,000 units in the period. Panasonic continued to dominate supply of 1080p plasma panels, accounting for 70 percent of units shipped, DisplaySearch said.

Samsung was the second-ranked 1080p plasma panel maker, at 15 percent unit share.

Fifty-inch panels continued to grow share of plasma panel shipments, rising from 26 percent to a record 29 percent of units. However, 42 inches continues to be the most popular screen size, at 49 percent of units. However, DisplaySearch pointed out that “this is the first quarter where 42-inch shipment share was less than 50 percent.”

The 32-inch screen size continues to show growth for the technology, DisplaySearch said, rising 20 percent quarter to quarter to 486,000 units and accounting for nearly 12 percent of shipments. All of the growth came from ED resolution panels which were popular in developing markets due to low pricing.

“The HD share of 32-inch plasma panel shipments declined, falling from 37 percent to 23 percent of units, as 32-inch LCD panel prices declined rapidly in Q3’08, thereby reducing the attractive pricing advantage plasma enjoyed in the 32-inch TV category,” stated Paul Gagnon, DisplaySearch North American TV market research director.

“In addition, aggressively lower retail prices at the end of the third quarter for 42-inch and 50-inch HD plasma TVs are leading to a surge in demand for these models worldwide, especially in North America, and pushing overall plasma panel shipments sharply higher.”

Panasonic maintained the No. 1 revenue position among plasma panel suppliers in third quarter, with a 3 point increase, to a 39.8 percent share, on 37 percent year-on-year plasma panel revenue growth, according to DisplaySearch.

This was the highest growth of any supplier, due to record shipments of 50-inch panels. Samsung SDI was the No. 2 plasma panel supplier on a revenue basis, but revenue share declined by almost 2 points despite having 30 percent year-on-year revenue growth.

LG was No. 3 with a 22 percent revenue share on weaker 8 percent year-on-year growth. Pioneer moved up to No. 4, as Hitachi fell to No. 5 on a 26 percent year-on-year decline in plasma panel revenues, the firms said.

Table 1: Plasma Panel Revenue Share and Growth by Supplier