Visual Grand Prix 2006 Summer

The results of the Visual Grand Prix 2006 Summer have been announced, and I would like to write about several factors and issues that deserve special mention. The results themselves are given in the article that begins on the next page, so I do not need to repeat them here. Suffice to say that, after voting by the judges, the Special Gold Award went to Pioneer’s PDP-5000EX plasma display panel.

Panasonic痴 VIERA Link膨ompatible TH-58PX600 is also a completely new proposal, and it was a close battle between the two. In the end, the PDP-5000EX attracted the greater number of votes as a monitor with full specifications. Still, Panasonic痴 proposed VIERA Link effect is significant, and I am delighted that the business model is being established in this direction.

It is also noteworthy that the realization of horizontal marketing that is, the replacement of 50-inch models by 50-inch models has been proposed by the PDP-5000EX. This different stance from usual products is the embodiment of a method integrating the retail store and the concept, and I would like to draw attention to this development.

In addition, the VGP Special Award is being introduced from this time, and the first goes to Panasonic. The VGP Special Award takes into account such factors as past reception of the Visual Grand Prix痴 top three awards, wide range of products, and contribution to the development of the industry, and there can be no objection to the choice of Panasonic.

Meanwhile, Sharp failed to win any of the top three awards. One of the reasons lies in Sharp痴 poor response to the Visual Grand Prix and other such events. The result, it can be said, was reflected in the voting behavior of the judges. First of all, Sharp argued, among other things, that there was no place to show the products concerned, so the judges were unable to see Sharp痴 products. Another factor is probably the fact that Sharp is resting on its laurels after achieving a dominant share of the liquid-crystal TV market, and its organization maybe has become somewhat rigidified.

Seventy leading retail stores around the country participate in the Visual Grand Prix, and the results are posted prominently on the major websites of Yodobashi Camera and others. Furthermore, the results are transmitted around the world in English via the Phile-web site, which attracts 80 million hits a month. Naturally, they are carried in this magazine, AV REVIEW, and other publications, too, so the wealth of information going out is surely not going to be overlooked.

In the category of liquid-crystal televisions, Sony is doing extremely well, but with the full-fledged entry of IPS (in-plane-switching) panels and so forth, the competition among liquid-crystal TV makers around the world is heating up. Even though a company might have the top share at the moment, there is no guarantee that it will continue in first place. There is a proverb that goes, 笛ust a small leak can sink a big ship. I hope that companies with top shares respond properly to the VGP judges.

I also want the judges to look closely at products and fully discuss them. The next VGP, in 2007, has already begun. I want you all to understand that the unwritten law that VGP award-winning models become hit products is certain to continue.