Congratulations, Sharp. Good for you. You've gone and built the world's largest liquid crystal display (LCD) television set. Now let's see you try to sell it.
According to an article in PC Pro magazine, Sharp (NQB: SHCAY), the world's market-share leader in LCD televisions, intends to disprove the notion that LCD TVs must be small -- that if you want a truly humongous set, but one that's thinner than a standard cathode ray tube, then plasma's the way to go.
In August, Sharp intends to begin the commercial manufacture and sale of as many as 300 of its monstrous 65-inch LCD television sets every month. If you think 300 is not a particularly ambitious goal, well, there's a reason they're setting the bar so low: It's going to be almost impossible to sell these things en masse. After all, these are luxury items, and their price and quantity supplied hearken to this. Sure, maybe a few Sharp executives and/or the exorbitantly rich and famous will buy the monstrosities for bragging rights -- treating them as man-sized trophies to prop against the old living room wall. (Not enough room on the mantel.) But with the retail price of the 65-inch LCD set estimated at more than $15,000, it's hard to imagine anyone choosing to buy this LCD instead of a comparably sized plasma TV for "just" $10,000 if given the choice.
Leave aside for a moment that whether LCD or plasma, we're still talking about TVs that each cost about as much as a Toyota
In this Fool's opinion, Sharp's new set is little more than an exercise in hubris. The company is making a huge LCD because it can. One might argue that the whole concept of LCD televisions itself is quite the same. Without a competitive price, it's unlikely that LCD technology will unseat plasma as the king of large-screen, thin-monitor televisions. It's similarly unlikely, in my opinion, that Sharp's announcement has plasma-TV manufacturers such as Panasonic (aka Matsushita
More Foolish dispatches from the flat-panel front lines:
- Can Flat Panels Level Off?
- LG.Philips' Mixed Signals
- Flat Panels Still Getting Flattened
- LG.Philips Blows a Fuse
- Sony's Plasma Perils
Fool contributor Rich Smith has no position in any of the companies mentioned in this article.