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Sony, Panasonic eye next-gen TV tie-up: report

TOKYO -- Japan's cash-bleeding electronics giants Sony and Panasonic are looking to join forces to produce next-generation televisions in a bid to claw back market from South Korean rivals, a report said Tuesday.

The firms want to speed up the development of large-screen organic electroluminescence (OEL) televisions, which consume less power and offer a sharper picture than conventional flat panels, the Nikkei daily said.

OEL is widely expected to be the dominant technology in the next generation of televisions.

Both companies are aiming to commercialize OEL TVs by fiscal 2015, and their tie-up could eventually lead to joint production, the report said, without citing sources.

The partnership would mark the first time that the two firms have joined hands in a core business, in a major turning point for the struggling Japanese electronics industry.

South Korean firms Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. plan to release 55-inch OEL TVs this year, the Nikkei said.

Sony and Panasonic hope to devise a low-cost, high-yield manufacturing technique by bringing their technologies together, the Nikkei said.

Neither company was prepared to comment on the Nikkei report.

“The company will continue research on OEL technology based on what it has developed on its own,” said Panasonic in a statement.

“Nothing has been decided at this point about research into a business plan.”

A Sony spokesman also refused to comment.

Sony and Panasonic suffered a combined US$15.4 billion loss in the year to March as falling sales and intensifying competition hit them hard.

Panasonic President Fumio Ohtsubo, who had previously announced he would step down, conceded last week that the firm's earlier television business strategy was off the mark.

“We had invested a huge amount in 2006 and 2008 in the panel and TV businesses, but many changes occurred,” Ohtsubo told a news briefing in Tokyo.

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