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Monday, August 11, 2003

Flat-screen TVs replacing curved ones

FLAT-screen television sales are expected to fuel Sony Electronics’ US growth this year, but traditional televisions will remain a strong revenue driver, company president Hideki "Dick" Komiyama said.

"This year the driving force is going to be the (television) display business," Komiyama, who is charged with overseeing operations at the $11 billion electronics arm of Japan’s Sony Corp., told a press gathering in New York. Sony Electronics expects to see revenue for flat-screen TVs, which include high-definition and other digital TV screens, increase to about 30 per cent of its total US television sales in the fiscal year ending early in 2004, from about 10 per cent a year earlier. Growth in flat screen televisions was expected to continue in the next year, he added, although he did not quantify the expected rise.

The projection comes after Sony Corp. in July blamed a poor first-quarter performance partly on slack sales of its Trinitron traditional cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions.

Komiyama said CRT television sales in the USA would remain strong at about 70 per cent of the total in the current fiscal year. The company remained optimistic about sales of CRT televisions, which on average cost far less than flat-screen models.

The transition to high definition and other advanced video systems has moved somewhat slowly in the USA, where consumers wait for lower prices and broader programming from television networks.

Despite the rosy outlook for flat-screens, Komiyama said Sony would prefer a transition to digital televisions that is "smooth, rather than drastic". "(That is) because we have a CRT business," he said. "So we wish for a transfer that is reasonable."— UNI