End Game for PDP

Poor old plasma has had really lousy PR these last few years with the rumours that they need re-gassing, and that the colours degrade over time, gaining currency in every pub conversation about flat panel displays.

The thing is people love huge screens. A social worker friend tells me that, no matter how low-income her clients may be, they all have two things: a huge TV, and a rat in a cage. So the PDP vs LCD battle has been no esoteric techie debate, it’s been a matter of pride, prejudice and popular punditry in the public bars of the land. Now the PDP vs LCD battle is entering its end game with Matsushita reported, by iSuppli, to be the only PDP manufacturer intending to increase production capacity in a market expected to be flat, in $ terms, for the next five years. Matsushita is said to be hoping that sales of larger-sized PDPs to the digital-signage and business markets will accelerate, but the analysts say that overall PDP revenues are hardly expected to show any increase at all over the next five years. All the other PDP suppliers are said to be either intending to stick with current production levels or are cutting production utilisation rates to around 70 per cent.. The problem for the PDP business is that prices have to keep dropping because LCD prices are dropping at 13 per cent a year. But it’s difficult for the PDP people to cut costs that fast. Matsushita is market leader in PDP with 37.3 per cent market share. LG is second on 24 per cent, Samsung third on 21 per cent and Fujitsu-Hitachi fourth with 10.7 per cent.

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