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Sony denies plasma TV pull-out

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Sony has denied allegations that it is planning to pull out of the plasma display TV market in a bid to cuts costs and improve profitability.

"We will continue production and sales of plasma televisions," the Japanese electronics giant said today in a statement.

That contradicts a report in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun earlier this week. The paper said Sony would shortly cease plasma TV production in Ichinomiya, Japan; Wuxi, China; Barcelona; and Pittsburgh. Instead of punching out plasma TVs, the four sites would produce LCD and rear-projection models instead.

Sony's statement today certainly notes a shift in that direction: "Regarding our flat television business, we will continue to focus on LCD and rear-projection televisions," the company said.

However, it claimed that that shift of emphasis would not be to the exclusion of plasma TV technology.

The announcement comes a week after Samsung showed off what it claims is the world's largest plasma TV, a 255cm (102in) monster display more than 2m across. Earlier last week, Sony and Samsung entered into a broad patent cross-licensing deal, although the terms of the agreement do not cover certain display-oriented technologies such as TFT LCD and OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) systems. Ditto Sony's Digital Reality Creation image enhancement engine for hi-definition TVs, and Samsung's Digital Natural Image Engine, also a digital TV video processing system.

Sony's TV division lost ¥6.1bn ($58.64m) in the three months to 30 September. ®

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