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: Industry Roundup

Industry Roundup

Motorola parts with Proview; Philips drops LCoS; LCD prices dent profits for LGPhilips; TI’s micromirrors prompt imitators.

Motorola parts with Proview: Motorola’ plan to return to the television market after more than 30 years has been derailed by a rift with Proview International Holdings Ltd’s Moxell Technology, the Chinese manufacturing company hired by Motorola to make its flat-panel sets. Proview is the world’s largest assembler of computer monitors, according to the electronics industry press.

The original agreement had Motorola selling Proview-built flat panels under the Motorola name in North America, and Proview selling both Motorola and Proview brands in Asia. Proview execs then decided that they also wanted to sell their own brand of products in North America, a move that didn’t sit well with Motorola.

Proview added capacity to its Shenzhen plant, and began making prototype flat panel televisions in April. The company will continue to sell Motorola-branded computer monitors in Asia. The last Motorola-branded TV was sold in North American in 1974.

Philips Drops LCoS: Philips Consumer Electronics announced earlier this month that it would discontinue production of its Cineos liquid crystal on silicon (LCoS) rear projection televisions. The Dutch electronics giant also wants to deplete its inventory of the sets, and has cut prices of remaining LCoS models by $500. Other companies will likely make new rear-projection sets bearing the Philips logo.

LCD prices drop: LGPhilips is taking a hit from a worldwide drop in prices for large-panel LCDs. A joint venture between Philips Consumer Electronics and Korean manufacturer LG Electronics, LGPhilips posted a 15% drop in profits for the third fiscal quarter ended September 30. The drop was attributed to increased competition from other flat-panel makers, many of whom have increased production and built new facilities to meet growing demand for flatscreens. Dropping prices are expected to spur new sales, which may help offset shrinking profits.

Micromirrors everywhere: Texas Instruments’ excellent and popular Digital Light Processing (DLP) “micromirror” devices (such as the DarkStar2 and DarkStar3 chips) are prompting a wave of imitators, according to an October 14 report by Gary McWilliams in The Wall Street Journal. With more than 500 patents on DLP technology, TI charges makers of flatscreen televisions and video projectors between $350 and $500 per DLP chip.

Knockoffs and similar chips using new designs could go for half that price, considerably lowering ultimate retail prices for big-screen TVs and monitors. “Sales of micromirror chips to TV manufacturers and projector makers are expected to hit nearly $900 million this year”, McWilliams noted. TI’s dominance of the reflective chip industry was central to Philips’ move to abandon its LCoS line.

Source Stereophile Ultimate AV

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