Rear-seat entertainment systems could see their take rate increase 12% in five years, says Sharp Microelectronics of the Americas.

Joel Pollack, Sharp’s display business unit vice president, tells Ward’s the current take rate is 18% to 20%. But he predicts that total could reach 40% by 2006.

“It’s very much price-dependent,” Mr. Pollack says, adding technological advances bode well for falling prices.

Rear-seat entertainment systems featuring video and gaming capabilities cost consumers about $1,500. “We would hope that we would see it around the $600-to-$800 price,” Mr. Pollack says. “We think then the take rate will go up.”

They have become a useful marketing tool, says Mr. Pollack, used as an inducement, by dealers, when the market is soft. “It’s one of those things that a lot of people would like to have.”

George Hardwick, general sales manager of Prestige Ford in Garland, TX, says factory-installed systems are usually available in packages. When a package is discounted, the price reduction often equals the cost of the system. “It’s a better dollar value,” he says, adding Expedition buyers are among his dealership’s most frequent takers.

Based in Camas, WA, Sharp is rolling out new technology to ensure screens display life-like color regardless of the setting. It’s called Advanced TFT, which stands for “thin film transistor.” “The expectation is that you should be able to see a video and it should look the same way it would look in your living room. The other expectation is it should look just as good no matter where you (drive), whether you’re inside a parking garage or whether you’re in the Arizona desert with the top down.”

Advanced TFT refines the backlit matrix technology and combines it with the flexibility of a reflective matrix which improves its performance in direct light. “The brighter the better,” Mr. Pollack says.

The technology also has a navigation system application because of its capability to display high-quality graphics.

“In Japan, people are showing not just maps, they’re showing images of what the buildings look like,” Mr. Pollack says.