NEC Display Solutions of America is discontinuing production of large-format plasma screens, focusing instead on LCD technology for conference room and digital signage products, NEC Display Solutions president Pierre Richer said Thursday.
The decision applies to large-format plasma screens, that range from 42 to more than 100 inches in size. Richer said NEC has enough inventory of the plasma products to continue shipping them for three or four months.
LCD technology is more energy efficient and, unlike plasma screens, can be left turned on for indefinite periods of time, according to Richer. "Plasma has really transitioned into the home and television space," he said. "For the conference room [market] and the signage space, LCD is a better technology."
While not providing specific figures, Richer said LCD accounts for about 95 percent of NEC Display Solutions' large-screen sales and plasma only about 5 percent. "It was an extremely small part of our business already," he said.
Worldwide sales of plasma signage and professional display units are expected to grow from around 1 million this year to less than 2 million in 2012, according to forecasts from the iSuppli analyst firm. Similar products based on LCD technology, in contrast, are expected to grow from around 3.5 million units this year to nearly 18 million units in 2012.
NEC Display Solutions has about 100 audio visual system integrators that resell the company's LCD and plasma display products and many hundreds of resellers who purchase the products through distributors, according to Richer.
The company has increased its warranty on its plasma products from two years on the product and one year on the glass module to three years on the whole unit.