Matsushita Electric Industrial, the maker of Panasonic products, said Thursday it has developed a prototype of a 103-inch plasma display panel, the world’s largest such screen.

The prototype, which will be on display at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, appears to put Matsushita slightly ahead of South Korea’s Samsung Electronics for bragging rights over who can develop the biggest flat-panel TV.

Samsung grabbed headlines at last year’s CES by unveiling a 102-inch plasma display prototype. Neither company has made clear when or if these monster screens will actually reach store shelves or at what price.

Samsung boasts the largest plasma TV now on the market, having started sales of an 80-inch model in South Korea in October for about $130,000.

Matsushita recently began selling a 65-inch plasma set for about $8,600 in Japan.

Matsushita, the world’s top seller of plasma TVs, said the bulk of demand for the 103-inch set would probably come from businesses, schools and medical institutions, but it also saw demand from consumers looking to set up home theatres.

"Demand for large-screen TVs is expected to further increase as digital high-definition broadcasting service continues to expand throughout the world," Hiroyuki Nagano of Panasonic said in a statement.

Matsushita said the prototype met full high-definition specifications, meaning it can produce images at the highest standard of 1,920-by-1,080 pixels of resolution.

Developing panels able to display a full high-definition picture has been a major challenge for plasma makers because of numerous hurdles inherent in the technology.

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