I recently returned from the LG Electronics line show, which was held in Dallas, TX at the beginning of November. The theme of their line show and with all of their display products for 2006 and beyond is "The World is Flat." LG Electronics is focusing their display products totally on plasma and LCD displays. Current models in the line will continue through Spring 2006 at which time the new line will be rolled up. Many of the new models will be direct replacements of 2005 models.
What's interesting and significant here is that the manufacturer wants to make their displays available somewhat earlier than their competition. Normally, manufacturers introduce new products in the Spring of each year, and then starting delivering new TVs beginning in June and continuing through the coming November. With LG, the delivery dates are now changed with the first shipment of products to commence in April and continue through June/July. This will also ensure them a top stop on retailers sell floors in the coming Fall. We all know that the start of the football season starts to spike large-screen TV sales.
While I am under embargo with specific model details, I can give you the highlights of LG's upcoming line. The display line is divided into four groups: plasma, LCD, Micro-Display, CRT. Starting with CRT, there is one flat 30-inch integrated HD model in the line with a reduced depth of under 16-inches. It is only kept in the line to reach a specific customer who wants a CRT display device. For LG, the CRT is going the way of the Dodo bird. And, here's a bit of surprising news, according to LG, Micro-Display sales will have peaked in 2005, and sales will start to fall off as more and more consumers purchase flat-panel displays. Although, it should be noted that LG will offer two size LCoS 1080p models in 2006 -- both over 60-in.
Speaking of flat-panel displays, LG is very bullish on plasma and LCD. They also have factories for LCD and plasma displays, which may be a key factor in why they believe that flat-panel will succeed. They expect these technologies to continue to drop in price, and flourish till the year 2010 and beyond. At that time, they envision technologies like OLED to start coming into prominence. When asked about other new display technologies such as nanotubes, SED, and FED, LG believes that they are all vapor ware right now. When and if those products are launched by their competitors, they will give them a serious look. Toshiba and Canon expect to show SED on the show floor at CES in January 2006 with deliveries starting next Fall.
In terms of LCD displays, LG screen sizes range from 15-inch up to 55-inch. It was noted that all LCD displays of 42-inch and above will have screen resolutions of 1920x1080p because at those larger sizes individual pixel element can be discerned in LCD.
I asked if their plasmas would go 1080p in 2006. According to Mr. Bob Perry, Sr. Vice President of Sales and Channel Marketing, the answer is an emphatic "No," The only 1080p plasma display product in LG's entire line is their 71-inch model, which was introduced late last year, and is now finally shipping to dealers. The reason that plasma displays will not be 1080p in 2006 is that there are no 1080p source devices right now. According to LG, when there are 1080p source devices such as a blue laser DVD (Blu-ray for LG) that outputs 1080p, it will be at that time that LG will offer 1080p plasma displays. Although, with both Hitachi and Pioneer announcing 1080p plasma models, it may make LG think twice about this decision. Specific model numbers and pricing will be announced this coming January 2006 in Las Vegas at CES.