Liquid-crystal display televisions outdid plasma TVs in Japan’s large flat-screen TV market in February for the first time, a market survey agency announced Wednesday.

LCD TVs accounted for 50.5 percent of 37-inch and larger flat-screen TV sales in volume in the month and 51.8 percent in value at 3,500 general merchandise stores nationwide, GfK Marketing Services Japan Ltd. claimed.

LCD TVs’ share of the large flat-screen TV market jumped from 28 percent in the same month last year as Sharp Corp. and Sony Corp. launched over-40-inch models.

Meanwhile, the Japan Electronics & Information Technology Industries Association said shipments of over-30-inch LCD TVs in February scored a 2.7-fold increase in volume from a year earlier, while plasma TV shipments’ growth was limited to 14.7 percent.

In value terms, plasma TV shipments often slip below year-before levels as a result of price-slashing, the association said.

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., which has the largest share of the plasma TV market, questioned the survey’s results.

Matsushita officials said that 60 percent of its plasma TV sales have been generated at Matsushita-affiliated retail stores, not the general-merchandise stores covered by GfK Marketing.

The firm also noted that plasma TVs currently have 90 percent of the global market for large flat-screen TVs.

Also on Wednesday, Matsushita announced that it will launch new plasma display panel television models next month as part of its effort to further boost its share in the flat-screen TV market.

Although plasma displays have been considered less attractive than LCDs because they use more electricity, Matsushita officials said the firm has cut power consumption levels as low as — if not lower than — LCD TVs.

The Viera-brand TV will be sold in 37-, 42- and 50-inch sizes. The 42-inch model will probably be priced at about 500,000 yen, about 160,000 yen cheaper than the models on the market last year, according to the company.

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