LCD televisions now offer better quality than plasma screens, according to Sharp's European production manager. Gary Pearson says that the new generation of LCD panels are so good that they now exceed the quality of traditional plasma panels.

Pearson also dismissed SED as a viable consumer technology and forecasted the demise of the plasma market. Speaking to Tech.co.uk at CeBIT in Hannover, Pearson said he believes that plasma televisions have no future.

"Plasma currently has an edge in terms of manufacturing costs at the moment, but things are changing. People are always looking to buy a very big screen for a very cheap price, so plasma has its niche in the market pace, but that price gap has been eroded month on month by LCD.

"I would say that LCD is right up there in terms of quality now - we've got LCD panels on display here today that give you very wide gamut colour reproduction. You've also got new backlighting technologies that give you contrast ratios of up to 15,000 to 1 on some of the higher end models. Plus, LCD contrast ratios don't diminish in bright sunlight, whereas plasma contrast ratios fall through the floor."

Plasma 'doomed'

One traditional disadvantage for LCD is that it is prone to motion blur when there are fast movements on screen, Pearson said. But, he added, the new 100Hz LCD TV technology means that this problem has been eliminated.

"Beyond picture quality, LCD offers greater benefits over plasma: it's more environmentally friendly, it uses less electricity - up to 50 per cent less - and all these factors will mean that in the long term LCD will win over plasma."

Pearson finished by indicating that Sharp has absolutely no intention of partnering with Nano-Proprietary Inc in the SED market, or of even looking at the technology independently.

"SED is a technology that has been talked about and talked about for maybe three or four years, and all I can say to that is: 'where is the product?' It still hasn't appeared. SED is very similar to plasma in many respects and they don't seem to have perfected the technology enough to bring it out as a commercial product.

"At this stage, Sharp will definitely not consider looking into SED. Sharp is definitely committed to LCD technology; we've been in this market since 1972 and all our research, development and expertise is in LCD - and that's why we are global leaders in this field."

Sharp sells more LCD TVs globally than any other company and is launching a range of new high-quality televisions at the CeBIT show.