No Slowdown In HDTV Sales, Says Sony

In an interview with EE Times earlier this week in New York, Jay Vandenbree, president of Sony's Consumer Sales Company (San Diego), noted that HDTV sales exceeded expectations in Sony's fiscal quarter ended June, and are running ahead of expectations so far in July.

"We don't see a slowdown in the TV business," said Vandenbree, noting the success of the company's Bravia expanding LCD TV line.

Vandenbree's group is responsible for sales in the U.S. However, consumer electronics provided a key boost for Sony's global first-quarter results, bolstering the entire company's overall sales and earnings.

Sony's robust expectations were reflected in recent moves by S-LCD Corp., the joint venture between Sony Corp. and South Korea-based Samsung, to expand LCD panel production at the venture's Generation 7 and 8 lines.

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By contrast, other LCD suppliers have scaled back LCD production due to slumping sales and falling prices as LCD TV sales have fallen short of expectations.

Vandenbree added that LCD TV prices will come down as production ramps up, but brushed aside any notion of Sony being a price leader.

"Our plan is not to drive the prices down," Vandenbree said. "We need to make sure to add value in features and design."

Sony's microdisplay-based TVs are also selling strongly, according to Vandenbree, noting that the company's 42inch microdisplay TV was a leading seller last year.

Vandenbree said digital cameras and camcorders also continue to sell well, with more consumers wishing to not only play and record but also edit high-definition content. Sony is also expected to roll out an E-book reader that uses electronic ink technology from E Ink Corp., in September.

Sony also is forging ahead on Blu-ray Disc technology, introducing both players and movies in the format.

"We don't forsee HD DVD unseating Blu-ray," Vandenbree said, noting Blu-ray's storage and performance advantages over HD DVD."