Sony's message that it is raising its stakes in the LCD TV market couldn't be clearer. At a press event held Tuesday in Tokyo, a panel of senior Sony executives not only underscored the company's intentions to focus on LCD technology as a key driver in its TV strategy, they also announced Sony's commitment with the setup of a factory in Inazawa, Aichi, which would enable the multinational giant to produce its own LCD glass. Toward this end, a whole new line of LCD TVs branded under the name Bravia will be rolled out across Asia Pacific, including Japan, from October. Previously the Japanese company would outsource its LCD panels from third parties. But earlier this year, the firm teamed up with Samsung, the world's biggest flat-panel TV maker, in a 200 billion yen (about US$1.82 billion) joint venture in South Korea to start producing LCD panels next year. This is in addition to its factory in Aichi. Making its own LCD glass will empower the company to exercise more quality control and be more cost-effective. Mr Kikuchi explained that "as Sony increases LCD television production using these 7th-generation panels to meet the demands of the market, the economies of scale make LCD televisions value for money". This could essentially bring the cost--and hence the sticker price--of LCD TVs down in the near future, narrowing the price gap between plasmas and the former. The company was unable to comment on the investment and research dollars expended on Bravia, but said the product would be "refined every year", with plans for factories to be set up in Mexico, Malaysia, Barcelona and Shanghai. The Japanese company will, meanwhile, continue with CRTs for the low-end market and Grand WEGA rear projection TVs aimed at the US market, but expects the worldwide trend to see demand for the former dropping by 2007.