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Canon to Enter Flat-Panel TV Market
Sep 15, 2004
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Canon Inc. said that it will start selling large-screen flat-panel TVs next year with Toshiba Corp. The companies claim that the TVs will boast better images and consume less power than plasma display panels and liquid crystal displays.

It will be Canon's first foray into the TV market. The two firms hope their TVs, known as SEDs, will be the top choice in large-screen flat TVs by 2010 over the PDP and LCD rivals.

Canon and Toshiba have been jointly developing surface-conduction electron-emitter display (SED) panels since 1999.

The two companies agreed to set up a joint venture to produce 50-in or larger SED panels starting next August, with initial monthly capacity of 3,000 units. They plan to invest 200 billion yen (approx. U.S. $1.8 billion) to build production facilities and bring monthly output capacity to 75,000 panels by the end of 2007.

The companies said they will start selling SED TVs upon the start of production of the panels, under their respective brands.

Compared with PDP and LCD TVs, the SED option is said to be more similar to conventional cathode-ray tube models in structure, but boast a slimmer body.

The firms said SED TVs have brighter, sharper images and consume much less power than PDP or LDC televisions.

Canon Chief Executive Fujio Mitarai said at a news conference that it took a long time for the two firms to bring the new TVs to the market because they had to find ways to mass produce panels in a way that competes with the other flat-panel TVs in terms of cost.

Canon, which had never sold televisions before, said Toshiba will produce its TVs for the first few years, after which it will start assembling its own.

Mr. Mitarai said that for Canon, it has been increasingly necessary to produce and sell its own TVs, as they are serving as network centers for various electronics goods. (The Japan Times)

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