By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: Hitachi will launch its first range of full HD resolution flat panel TVs at its Sydney roadshow event tonight, as the company prepares to enter the growing segment which it predicts will account for up to 70 per cent of the market’s value by Christmas.

With 1920×1080 lines of resolution, full high definition (HD) TVs offer sharper images than many current-generation HD sets and are ideally suited for maintaining crisp pictures at large screen sizes.

Hitachi will unveil its debut range of plasma and LCD TVs with native support for full HD resolution to around 300 retailers at the first leg of its 2007 national roadshow tonight in Sydney.

According to Hitachi product specialist – flat panel, Mark Lawson, the full HD segment of the flat panel TV market has already grown substantially this year, and his company’s bold prediction of 70 per cent market share (by value) should be reached before the end of the year.

“In the 40- to 42-inch segment, we are already seeing 37 per cent (full HD) in quantity and that has been achieved with really just Sony and Samsung generating these figures,” Lawson told earlier today.

“From the overseas experience, we think this will reach about 50 per cent quantity by Christmas, and so value could easily by up to 70 per cent.”

Arriving in mid-August, the flagship Hitachi P50X01 50-inch plasma (RRP $5,999) will be the company’s first full HD plasma and will be followed by a 60-inch model later in the year for under $10,000.

In another first for Hitachi, the company will also unveil a 42-inch LCD with full HD resolution, the L42X01 (RRP $4,179), as well as 37-inch L37X01 (RRP $3,299) full HD LCD. These models will also be available from mid-August.

Hitachi has upgraded its Japanese plasma factory to produce up to 3.6 million full HD panels per year, while its IPS Alpha LCD factory will also churn out full HD panels with annual production capacity expected to reach five million units.

“We will continue to offer both technologies (plasma and LCD) and allow consumers to choose,” said Lawson.

Hitachi’s new flagship flat panel TVs will feature technological improvements including Frame Rate Conversion – an image processor which inserts additional frames in the image for smoother playback of 24 frames per second cinema content, such as Hollywood movies.

A One Touch remote control will also be introduced, allowing consumers to change the AV input on the panel with the push of a single button.

A demonstration of its new TV technologies will be a highlight of the touring Hitachi Hot Gear Roadshow, which will travel around Australia over the coming six weeks to educate retail sales staff on the new product range.

Hitachi will also use the roadshow to launch upgraded versions of its regular HD plasma and LCD range, including the P50H01 50-inch plasma (RRP $3,629) with 1280×1080 ALiS panel; the P42H01 42-inch plasma (RRP $2,529) with 1280×1080 ALiS panel; and the 32-inch L32H01 LCD with 1366×768 resolution panel (RRP $1,649).

All models will be available in September, with some expected to arrive by mid-August.