By James Wells in Melbourne

MELBOURNE: Samsung Australia told retailers at its AV Roadshow last night in Melbourne that it is the only company currently positioned to tell the entire high definition story prior to the launch of Sony’s PlayStation3 in November this year.

According to Samsung Electronics Australia general manager – marketing, Kurt Jovais, retailers now have access to a range of products from the Korean manufacturer including high definition ready plasma and LCD televisions, high definition set top boxes, Hypervision DVD players which upscale standard definition content to high definition, Hypervision virtual nine-channel ‘high definition’ home theatre system as well as a global partnership with high definition gaming partner –Microsoft Xbox.

Jovais said that retailers have embraced Samsung’s approach to high definition which has already created increased sales.

“Samsung is out there banging the drum on LCD and we are seeing some significant results. Last month, one out of four LCDs sold in Australia was a Samsung. Our 26.7 per cent share put us eight points ahead of Sony,” Jovais said.

“In terms of total market value, the LCD market has grown by 162 per cent in the first four months of 2006 compared to the corresponding period in 2005. Over this period Samsung surpassed the market with 236 per cent growth. This growth has been driven by our M Series range with significant uptake in the 32-inch and now the 40-inch sizes. A lot of the volume is 27-inches and below, but we are seeing significant growth in the larger screen sizes which is where we have a superior offer.”

According to Jovais, the growth of LCD, albeit off a lower base, was twice that of the plasma category in the first four months of 2006.

“The industry forecasts for growth in the overall TV market this year is two per cent in units, but 15 per cent in value. This demonstrates a significant shift into higher value flat panels. We believe that the LCD market can reach 450,000 units in Australia. Out of a total of 1.9 million unit market, that is a significant proportion,” Jovais said.