By James Wells

SYDNEY: Sony Australia has announced it will be pulling out of the Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) and plasma television markets to focus exclusively on LCD technology products including Bravia and Grand Wega.

The decision to focus exclusively on LCD products, including LCD flat panel television and LCD rear projection television, for local consumers comes 30 years after Sony introduced its first colour television to Australia.

“We are not ruling out other technologies for the future, but for the time being LCD technology is the focus,” a Sony spokesperson told today.

Sony claims that Australian television lovers prefer LCD, which the company predicts will eventually overtake plasma in the competitive flat panel market. Sony also claims that Bravia is the leading LCD television "in its class since its introduction" in September 2005.

GfK statistics quoted by Sony from March 2006 show 21 per cent of flat panel consumers purchased LCD, while 15 per cent purchased plasma.

“With price no longer a differentiator, more than ever consumers are catching on to the strengths and advantages offered to them with LCD,” said Sony Australia product manager – display, Graham Keogh.

“We urge retailers to listen to what their customers want. With the advent of digital and high definition broadcasts, television display devices for the future need to truly complement superior images, especially when compared with conventional products. Consumers deserve the highest quality, highest resolution possible for an optimum viewing experience right now, and into tomorrow. From our perspective, Sony LCD delivers on this promise,” Keogh said.

“The popularity of LCD technology in the flat panel TV arena has far exceeded original market expectations, experiencing a growth of nearly 300 per cent in the last year alone,” said Keogh quoting GfK statistics from April 2006.

“With LCD, you get a lifetime of exceptional colour control, less glare and reflection, and a greater range of sizes for the home, while avoiding any possibility of damage to your picture via ‘screen burn’,” said Keogh.

“Sony warns consumers looking to make the investment in a new flat panel television to ensure they choose a high-resolution product to carry them through the analogue switch-over. To take advantage of the clarity and sharpness associated with high definition (HD) content, only a high resolution panel is capable of reproducing the images as intended.

“Consumer confusion is rife when it comes to high definition and which products are capable of displaying the true image. Simply saying ‘HD-ready’ does not guarantee a screen that is capable of showing all the detail. It’s concerning to us that over 60 per cent of plasma TVs sold in Australia are low resolution, rendering them unable to reproduce a true HD image. To be certain they will really see the difference between standard definition and high definition, a consumer needs to ask the ‘resolution’ question.

“To avoid any disappointment now and in the future, a high resolution television is essential. With this in mind, the production process means LCD TVs will always fit this bill. Choose from a wider range of sizes with LCD, and consider bringing a high definition experience into every room of the house. For this HD-era, Sony’s entire LCD range is high resolution.”