Panasonic plasma hits back at Sony LCD

By James Wells

SYDNEY: Panasonic has issued a detailed statement late this afternoon defending itself against severe criticism from arch rival and pro-LCD supplier Sony  – who has accused its competitor of conducting a misleading plasma marketing campaign.

Panasonic’s statement "categorically refutes the comments made today by one of its competitors in relation to our Plasma TV marketing campaign" and also addresses the lighting conditions used during its research as well as the contentious burn-in and response speed factors which are regularly used to compare plasma and LCD televisions.

The statement continued:

"Panasonic Australia categorically refutes the comments made today by one of its competitors in relation to our Plasma TV marketing campaign.

"Panasonic takes very seriously its commitment to provide its customers, both retailers and end consumers with fair and accurate information upon which judgments can be made.

"International research organisation Synovate conducted a study commissioned by Panasonic Australia in March 2007. The survey results revealed that 69% of Australian research participants preferred the overall image quality of Plasma over LCD in screen sizes of 40 inches or larger.

"The results of the Consumer Study undertaken by Synovate are available to download from www.whychooseplasma.com.au with test conditions clearly disclosed. Consumers are able to make their own assessment from the information provided.

"GfK data confirms that Plasma continues to dominate the large screen segment with Plasma representing more than 63% of flat panel TVs purchased between January and April 2007 in screen sizes 40 inches or larger.

"The main complaint raised by Panasonic’s competitor relates to the lighting conditions employed in the Synovate test.

"As a manufacturer of both Plasma and LCD TVs, Panasonic fully agrees that lighting conditions are an important consideration for consumers when determining which flat panel TV to buy.

"Panasonic is absolutely confident that the survey lighting conditions were representative of the conditions under which Australians are viewing TV in their own homes – predominantly between 5pm and midnight, in low or indirect light.

"In fact the majority of research participants confirmed that the test conditions were similar to their viewing conditions at home.

"The fact that the survey was conducted in 50 Lux conditions is made very clear in the research results. This fact has always been available and published.

"Another complaint raised related to screen burn. Panasonic reiterates its view that screen burn will not occur under normal viewing conditions. Modern Plasma TVs feature pixel shifting technology along with improved phosphors and gas mix to greatly reduce the likelihood of screen burn. It will only happen under the highly rare condition that a high contrast image is displayed for a very long time.

"As far as LCD response time is concerned Panasonic will let the Synovate research results speak for themselves. Twice as many Australian consumers surveyed rated Plasma as being better than LCD at reproducing fast moving images. In all screen sizes tested, Plasma scored higher than LCD for response speed.

"It is important to remember that Panasonic is a significant global manufacturer of both LCD and Plasma TVs. With Panasonic’s vast experience in development of both technologies it is able to fairly assess which environment is ideally suited to each flat panel type.

"Synovate’s research clearly shows Australian consumers prefer Plasma in large screen sizes.

"Panasonic has always stated that Plasma TV is ideally suited to large screen viewing in typical living room conditions, whereas LCD TV is much better suited to brightly lit environments and smaller screen sizes.

"With flat panel penetration in Australia still relatively low, there is plenty of room in the Australian market for both Plasma and LCD to exist side by side.

"Panasonic’s competitor says “consumers should be entering the stores with their eyes open to the facts”. On this point we absolutely agree."

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