By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY, NSW: It is often said that in Australia, LCD is by far the dominant flat panel TV technology, but Panasonic Australia’s director – Consumer Electronics Group, Paul Reid, says that is misleading.

GfK data* indicated that over a comparable period, 1,458,652 LCD TVs were sold in Australia, compared to 568,920 over the same time. However, Paul Reid says that unless you look deeper, you can be mislead by the raw sales figures.

“In recent times there have been a couple of very simplistic views put across about the relative sizes of the plasma and LCD market and often that’s just taking the most simplistic of all possible measurements and looking at the total number of plasmas sold and the total number of LCDs sold and saying that there are more LCDs sold so they must be on the up and up,” said Reid.

“But it’s a really meaningless comparison because plasma is only sold in sizes above 40-inch and LCD of course is sold right down in 19-, 17-, 15-inch, so of course LCD is going to sell more than plasma … but the real apples for apples comparison is the volumes of plasmas sold against the volumes of LCDs in large screen sizes.”

Panasonic continues to sell both LCD and plasma TVs. The Panasonic Australia LCD range covers sizes from 19-inch (48-centimentre) to 42-inch (106-centimetre). Whereas in plasma, Panasonic only sells models in the larger sizes from 42-inch to 65-inch (165-centimetre).

When Reid talks about making meaningful comparisons on large screen sizes, he is referring to sizes above 40-inch.

“We measure 40-inch and above — which favours LCD a bit because there are 40-inch LCDs but there are no 40-inch plasmas — but in that market it’s been relatively stable roughly 50:50 and since April this year its tracking slightly in favour of plasma in the very large screen sizes above 40-inch,” he said.

“For us, with flat panel penetration still at only around 50 to 55 per cent, there is still huge potential for increased sales of both technologies in the years ahead.”

*Total TV sales for the year ending January 2009