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Sony, Samsung LCD JV to double 8G panel production

Big demand for big tellies

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Samsung and Sony will fund an extra eighth-generation LCD production line to be run by the two consumer electronics giant's S-LCD joint-venture company.

The new line won't go into operation until Q2 2009, the pair admitted, but when it does it's expected to punch out 60,000 2.5 x 2.2m panels each month. These 'motherglass' panels will be cut down into the screens used in LCD TVs.

S-LCD already has an eighth-generation LCD plant. It's been running since August 2007 and is ramping up to a target of 50,000 motherglass panels per month. But such is the global demand for LCD TVs, the partners said, they need to get moving now on a second production facility.

No wonder plasma technology is having a hard time keeping up - one key reason why Panasonic and Pioneer announced yesterday they will co-operate on plasma TV development and production.

S-LCD produces the panels that are used on Sony and Samsung TVs, though the two firms bring their separate know-how to the electronics that control the picture the panels will show.

Separately, Samsung today said it had struck a new intellectual property cross-licensing deal with S-LCD "to ensure both parties’ smooth business operation" - essentially making sure both can proceed to, respectively, make and sell panels and TVs without worrying that one's going to sue the other.

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