Sony Leaves Rear-Projection TV Market

Sony is dropping its money-losing rear-projection TV business worldwide to focus on two flat panel technologies - liquid crystal display and organic light-emitting diode, the company said Thursday. According to Sony Corp. spokesman Shinji Obana, sales of rear-projection TVs had been declining recently as LCD TVs gain in popularity and get bigger. In October, Sony lowered its global sales forecast for rear-projection TVs - which uses a projector to create images on large screens - to 400,000 from 700,000, which is down from 1.1 million the previous fiscal year. By contrast, Sony expects to sell 10 million LCD TVs this fiscal year through March, up from 6.3 million the previous year.

Sony sells 85 percent of its rear-projection TVs in the U.S., and about 10 percent in Europe, according to Obana. Production at the three plants that make the rear-projection TVs in Japan, Mexico and Malaysia, will be halted, Obana said. The decision to abandon rear-projection TVs underlines Sony's strategy of focusing on LCDs and OLEDs at a time when competition is heating up in flat TVs.

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