Samsung Electronics has unveiled a 70in LCD (liquid crystal display) panel that it hopes will help boost the competitiveness of LCD technology in the big-screen TV sector.

The panel refreshes the picture 120 times a second - double that of the LCD panels used in most TVs. In a demonstration at the FPD International 2006 show in Yokohama, Japan, on Wednesday, images and text scrolling across the panel appeared to move more smoothly than on existing LCD TVs.

Samsung plans to begin commercial production of the 70-inch panel early next year, and it should be available in TV sets in the months following.

Their launch will mark another step by LCD technology into a part of the market currently dominated by PDPs (plasma display panels). When flat-panel TVs first started becoming popular the division between LCDs and PDPs was at around the 42-inch mark, but LCD makers have been steadily launching larger screens.

Competition between LCD and PDP makers is fierce because so much money is at stake. The market in screens for flat panel TVs is expected to be worth $29.6 billion this year, up 60 per cent on last year, according to a report published on Tuesday by DisplaySearch.

Revenue from LCD panels is expected to account for 71 per cent of that market, up from two thirds in 2005, with PDPs falling from 39 per cent to 27 per cent of revenue, said DisplaySearch.

Samsung Electronics is one of the world's largest display makers. In the quarter to September it sold LCD panels worth 3 trillion won, up 12 per cent from a year earlier. Demand for panels for big-screen TVs was strong, it said on Monday when it announced quarterly earnings. More than half of the three million TV panels sold by Samsung during the quarter were 40-inches or larger, it said.