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Wednesday, 20 March 2013 08:30

Will Panasonic end plasma production?

Written by David Stellmack

May end in 2014 as the company moves to OLED

Panasonic could be on the verge of deciding to end production of its plasma television offerings as soon as 2014 if the news coming out of Tokyo is accurate. The decision, if it comes, would be a big disappointment to those looking for the picture offered by the plasma sets.

The Panasonic plasma offerings on the high end have become the best in class and the successors to the Pioneer Kuro plasma sets that were legendary in their picture quality. Panasonic has been the go to company with its high-end Viera plasma offerings that have won tons of awards. Should Panasonic exit the plasma business, it could signal pretty much the end of plasma television offerings.

Word is that Panasonic will partner with Sony in the development of OLED television technology, which is said to be the future for higher-end set offerings. Sets designed using this partnered technology would then be built using outsourced manufacturing to gain the best cost savings.

If rumors are to be believed, Panasonic has already stopped development of new plasma models. While Panasonic is rumored to have looked at the possibility of building LEDs as well as plasma models at its main Amagasaki plant, the company decided that a plant handling both technologies would be too inefficient.

If Panasonic does choose to stop producing plasma sets in 2014, it is expected to be a gradual ramp down in an effort not to anger retailers and partners. With a Panasonic exit, it isn’t clear who, if anyone, would step into providing high end HD sets that could pass the requirements of demanding enthusiasts. Panasonic has commented officially that they have yet to make any official decision as to the future of new plasma sets.

David Stellmack

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