Sharp Ramps Up LCD Production

OSAKA, JAPAN — Sharp said unexpectedly high global demand for LCD TVs has prompted it to double current production capacity at its 10G LCD panel plant in Sakai City, here, to 72,000 substrates per month. The 10th-generation plant, which came online last year, uses proprietary UV2A photo-alignment technology and produces high-contrast panels that are said to be higher in energy efficiency in screen sizes of 40 inches and larger, the company said. It also produces panels for Sharp’s new Quad Color Technology TVs.

The plant is currently outputting 36,000 substrates per month. Through a joint venture agreement, Sony shoulders 34 percent of the cost of the factory and gets one-third of the panels it produces. Sharp gets the other two-thirds.

Panasonic Prices VT25 3D TVs

SECAUCUS, N.J. — Panasonic formally revealed pricing on its Viera VT25 Series FullHD 3D plasma TVs, which are slated to start shipping this month. Models with 50-inch ($2,600 suggested retail) and 54-inch ($3,000) screen sizes ship this month, followed in June by models with 58- ($3,400) and 65-inch ($4,300) screen sizes. In March 2010, Panasonic partnered with Best Buy to debut its first Full- HD 3D home entertainment system featuring the 50-inch Viera TC-P50VT20 FullHD 3D plasma set exclusively at Magnolia Home Theater showroom outlets.

The new VT25 series models will broaden the reach of 3D offerings to more dealers and locations. All models include the company’s Infinite Black Pro Panel using a new phosphor technology that produces deep blacks (5,000,000:1 native contrast) and minimal reflections; THX certifi cation; Viera Cast Wi-Fi with Skype video conferencing capability; and access to online entertainment partners Amazon Video on Demand, Bloomberg News, Fox Sports and Netflix.

Dish, DirecTV Up HD Lineups

NEW YORK — Both Dish Network and DirecTV revealed plans to expand the number of HDTV channels available for national distribution. Dish said it will add eight new national HD channels to its lineup to expand its total HD channels to 200 (counting pay per view), while DirecTV said it will add 30 new HD channels over the next several months, bringing the direct-to-home satellite service’s HD assortment to more than 160.

DirecTV’s additions include: CSN Bay Area HD; CSN California HD; Encore HD East; ESPNU HD; FSN Florida HD; GolTV HD; Hallmark Channel HD; Hallmark Movie Channel HD; HBO2 East HD; HBO Zone HD; Lifetime HD; MSNBC HD; Showtime Beyond HD; Showtime Next HD; Showtime Women HD; Starz Cinema HD; Starz In Black HD; Telefutura HD West; TMC Xtra HD East; Travel Channel HD; Univision HD East; WGN HD; and additional DirecTV Cinema Channels. Dish Network added: EPIX HD, G4 HD, Headline News HD, History International HD, Nat Geo Wild HD, ShortsHD, Style HD and Turner Classic Movies HD.

DEG Forms 3D Working Group

LOS ANGELES — The Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) said Tuesday that it has created a 3D Working Group to promote developments in 3D home entertainment.

Members include representatives from Microsoft, Panasonic, Samsung Electronics, Sony, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment and Warner Home Entertainment Group.

It will be tasked with communicating and promoting “all of the 3D-compatible products and content that will soon be available via a number of platforms, including Blu-ray 3D, cable, satellite and the Internet,” the DEG said in a statement. “This will enable both retailers and consumers to better understand each platform’s benefits, while creating a united messaging strategy that properly positions and promotes 3D at home.”

The new Working Group will coordinate consumer messaging with the DEG Communications Committee and create consumer education materials, including a glossary of 3D terminology. It will also help to merchandise 3D at retail and explore potential connectivity issues and audio enhancements with other industry groups.

“We have a full agenda working with key industry companies in support of 3D and look forward to having our team help deliver the excitement of 3D to consumers,” stated Kris Brown, DEG 3D Working Group chair and Warner Home Video worldwide high-definition marketing VP.

The DEG will host a 3D Forum on June 2 in Los Angeles.


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