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Hitachi To Withdraw from Desktop CRT Market

Decision based on sluggish sales, future of DVI By Denise Harrison
Hitachi Ltd. announced that it has decided to withdraw from CRTs for computer monitors. In line with this decision, by the end of 2001 Hitachi will halt production of monitor CRTs at its manufacturing bases in Japan, Singapore and Malaysia, and is reviewing specific options for selling the business.

The sluggishness of the desktop computer market has reduced demand for CRTs for monitors, leading to a sharp fall in prices. Moreover, with future demand expected to shift to LCD monitors, there are no prospects for growth of the monitor CRT market.

"This is a key announcement in many ways for the ProAV market," said Gary Kayye, CTS, founder of Pro A/V company Kayye Consulting. "One, it means the start of the desktop CRT's demise. Two, it means that digital, flat-panel displays will soon replace analog CRTs. And, three, it means that DVI will soon become a standard.

"Why? Well, DVI is a digital interface from a PC and a monitor. Now, most PC monitors are analog so DVI is not popular. But, as digital displays (i.e. LCD monitors) become readily available and even replace CRTs, it means that digital interfacing (DVI) can't be far behind. Thus, DVI interfacing of projectors can't be far behind."

Hitachi's Display Group has been endeavoring to boost the cost-competitiveness of its products by transferring production overseas and moving to a lineup of higher-value-added products such as short-length CRTs, flat-face CRTs and large-screen CRTs for monitors. It was determined that any radical improvement in profitability would be difficult to achieve, leading to the decision to pull out of the monitor CRT business.

Looking ahead, the Display Group intends to concentrate resources on flat panel displays, particularly TFT LCDs including low-temperature poly-silicon TFT LCDs, and to utilize its leading-edge technology, including Super TFT, which offers high picture quality and a wide viewing angle and is well-suited for moving picture images. In addition, this month saw the start of TFT LCD production at a high-efficiency production line that uses the world's largest glass substrates, measuring 730 mm by 920 mm. By utilizing these strengths, Hitachi will focus on expanding and improving the profitability of its display business, using a product lineup that ranges from small and medium-sized LCDs for mobile phones to large-screen models for multimedia applications.

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