Ross Rubin:The Big Game's Big Picture

The Super Bowl is exactly the kind of event that plasma TV vendors such as Panasonic and Pioneer point to as playing to the technology's strengths -- among them high contrast ratios, deeply saturated colors and very good display of fast motion without picture breakup. Still, as plasma TV prices drop, these companies are looking to capture a larger share of the largest TVs above 50," a relatively small market.

Projection -- The week of the Super Bowl is among the finest for projection TVs, which rule the roost in terms of size and still maintain a significant price advantage over plasma at large sizes. NPD data showed projection TV sales jumped 25 percent during the week of the Super Bowl compared to the prior week.

Projection TV manufacturers such as JVC and Samsung have debuted thinner cabinets to compete with plasma, and while most plasma TVs aren't mounted on a wall, these projection TVs are still a bit thick for that option. The price difference with plasma at the largest sizes will be enough to keep projection TVs in the game until 2008, but after that the picture is less clear.

Because of their ability to run the ground game against direct view televisions while making large gains behind the passing leadership of larger sizes against plasma, LCD TVs should continue to see big gains throughout 2007.

Other technologies provide different kinds of advantages. After all, every team has its fans.

Ross Rubin is director of industry analysis for consumer technology at the NPD Group. www.npd.com

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