Samsung has developed a 57-inch liquid-crystal display (LCD) panel, the largest such panel in the world, the company said yesterday.

The panel was produced on the company's new fifth-generation TFT (thin film transistor) LCD production line that began operation in September 2003.

The maximum size that an LCD screen can be manufactured at is regulated by the size of glass sheet a production line can produce. Fifth-generation manufacturing lines can accept glass up to 43-x-51 inches, making the 57-inch panel possible, said Samsung.

There are no plans to begin mass-producing the panel, which was developed mainly to demonstrate and test the technology for such size screens, said Park Sung Hae, a spokeswoman for Samsung in Suwon, South Korea. The company has also yet to begin mass production of a 54-inch panel announced last year. Samsung currently offers a 46-inch panel as its largest commercial product, she said.

The 57-inch panel has a resolution of 1,920-x-1,080 pixels, matching that required for wide-screen high-definition television. Other attributes include a 1000:1 contrast ratio, 600 candelas per square metre brightness level, maximum 8ms response time and 75 per cent colour reproduction.

The panel itself measures 52x-30 inches, is 1.8 inches thick, and weighs 21.5kg. Power consumption is 350W at maximum brightness.

The company did not release any pricing estimates for what such a panel might cost when or if mass production begins. Park did say a TV set based on one of its 40-inch panels costs around US$5,000 and panel prices are currently in the $100-per-inch range.

In October, Samsung broke ground on construction of a seventh-generation LCD production line in South Korea. This can handle glass up to a maximum size of 73.6-x-86.6 inches and is expected to begin mass production in mid-2005. Samsung and Sony plan to share this factory in a future joint venture.