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Pioneer to launch full HD plasma TVs in October

Visitors look at Panasonic's new 1080p resolution Viera 42-inch plasma televisions during its launch event in Tokyo April 10, 2007. Japan's Pioneer Corp. said on Thursday it will launch its first full high-definition plasma televisions in October, playing catch-up with larger rivals such as Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. REUTERS/Kiyoshi Ota

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s Pioneer Corp. said on Thursday it will launch its first full high-definition plasma televisions in October, playing catch-up with larger rivals such as Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd.

Pioneer’s plasma operations swung to a quarterly loss in April-June, hit by fierce price competition in the flat TV market, where plasma televisions are losing market share to rival liquid crystal display (LCD) models.

Pioneer’s new 50- and 60-inch full high-definition sets, featuring an ability to recreate deeper black than conventional models, are expected to sell for 720,000 yen ($6,060) and 990,000 yen ($8,340) in Japan.

In comparison, Matsushita’s 50-inch full high-definition plasma TVs sell for around 450,000 yen.

Full high-definition models can produce images with a resolution of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels.

“We are determined to distance ourselves from price competition and move on to a new stage to offer an exciting experience for our customers,” Pioneer Managing Director Shinji Yasuda told a news conference.

Despite the relatively high prices for the upcoming products, which will target critical holiday shoppers, Pioneer said it will stick to its plan to ship 720,000 plasma TVs and plasma displays in the business year to next March.

That, however, is just 14 percent of Matsushita’s target to sell 5 million plasma TVs during the same period.

$1=118.75 Yen

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