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CES Update: CEA projects 6% growth for 2008


LAS VEGAS Panasonic unveiled a 150-inch plasma TV prototype and the Consumer Electronics Association forecasted another year of robust growth at the keynote speeches here on opening day of the Consumer Electronics Show.

In his opening speech, Panasonic president Toshihiro Sakamoto wowed the crowd when he unveiled a massive 150-inch plasma TV prototype and gave Panasonic bragging rights to the world's largest flat panel TV. Panasonic's largest plasma was a 103-inch model unveiled at last year's show. The company also debuted a new line of plasma TVs that are less than one-inch thick and less than half the weight of current models. "These plasmas will be easier to install and give consumers more design options," said Sakamoto. He also unveiled a new high definition camcorder that transmits images wirelessly to TV screens and will be available in 2009.

CEA president Gary Shapiro gave a glowing report on the state on the industry in his opening speech. "Sales have been strong and will continue that way in 2008 with sales expected to hit $171.6 million, a 6.1% increase from 2007," said Shapiro.

Sales will continue to be driven by the In-Home Technologies category, which rose 5% last year to $76.3 billion led by sales digital TVs, which produced more than $25 billion in revenue. In-Home sales are expected to rise 5.8% this year to $80.6 billion. In-vehicle technologies like GPS navigation systems will also be a hot category. Sales rose 15% last year to $11.4 billion and are expected to jump 12.9% to $12.8 billion in 2008.

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