Big-Screen CRT TV Biz in Japan All But Finished

The falling prices and growing popularity of flat-panel televisions pushed domestic shipments of big-screen cathode ray tube (CRT) TVs to almost zero during June, according to industry figures.

During June, domestic shipments of CRT TVs with screen sizes of 30 inches or above were counted as zero by the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA), an industry group that reports monthly shipment figures to the nearest 1,000 units. During the same month, shipments of liquid crystal display (LCD) TVs with 30-inch or larger screens was 234,000, it said.

Shipments of CRT TVs have been falling for the past few years, and several companies are planning to end domestic sales of CRT TVs. Prices are falling fast, and a 32-inch brand-name LCD TV can now be bought for around 150,000 yen (US$1,291) in Tokyo, which is less than half of what a similar TV would have cost a couple of years ago. The widespread availability of digital TV is also helping boost sales of flat-panel sets, many of which have digital tuners. On the other hand, CRT sets are typically analog-only.

In the first six months of the year, domestic shipments of all CRT TVs totaled 1.1 million, down 48 percent on the first half of last year. LCD TV shipments were up 35 percent to 2.4 million units and plasma display panel TV shipments were up 90 percent at 297,000 units during the period, said JEITA.

Last year was the first in which LCD TV shipments beat out CRT sets in Japan. For the entire year, 4.2 million LCD sets were shipped versus 4 million CRT sets, according to JEITA data.

-Martyn Williams, IDG News Service (Tokyo Bureau)

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