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Robert Silva

Panasonic May Drop Plasma TVs in 2013 -UPDATED

By December 18, 2012

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UPDATE 1/7/13: Good news for Plasma TV fans! At the Panasonic CES 2013 press conference, it was announced that they will be offering consumers 16 Plasma TV models across several series, including the ZT60, VT60, and ST60 series. More details to follow, so stay tuned.

Say it isn't so! Just a few weeks after sources at Mitsubishi informed their dealer and product support network that it was dropping its DLP Rear-Projection TV product lines, reports are now filtering out of Japan that Panasonic is considering dropping it Plasma TV product line.

Nothing official has been announced, but word is that financially troubled Panasonic wants to devote more resources to LCD and OLED as a way to bring it back to profitability. However, with the continued uncertain state of OLED, that may also be a gamble. In addition, if Panasonic leaves the Plasma market, how long will it be before LG and Samsung, the only other two major manufacturers that include Plasma as an option in their TV lines, decide to follow suit?

If this comes to fruition, consumers will lose an important TV purchasing option as Plasma TVs typically have distinctly desirable advantages over their LCD and LED/LCD counterparts, such as better motion response, deeper black levels, wider effective viewing angles, and lower prices when you compare equivalent screen sizes.

However, keep in mind that there are a lot of Plasma TVs in use around the World in both consumer and professional settings, so Panasonic (as well as LG and/or Samsung, if that should materialize) would continue product support for some time.

This will definitely be a topic for discussion at the upcoming CES, where Panasonic holds one of the largest press conferences and has one of the largest exhibit floor booths. Definitely stay tuned for more on this story.

Frankly, it would make me feel good to come back with a report that Panasonic had decided not to end its Plasma TV line - at least for 2013.

In the meantime, are more details on what is being reported so far from The Japan Daily Press and The Japan Times.

Also, for more information, check out my Guide to Plasma TVs, as well as my current Top Picks for Plasma TVs.

UPDATE 10/31/13: Panasonic Officially Confirms End Of Plasma TV Product Line.

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Comments
April 10, 2014 at 3:18 pm
(1) Jeff says:

This guy is nuts. OLED is the future. Panasonic surely realizes that and aren’t continuing a money losing endeavor. If one is going to lose money it’s better to lose it advancing the next level of technology, not a relic of the prehistoric age. LG is now the one to beat. Samsung will find a way to compete with them. Sony is getting out of televisions all together. I’m not certain how Panasonic is even going to stay relevant at all. Sharp is living on borrowed time. Vizio will displace the Japanese at the low end and the Koreans are displacing them at the high end. Serves Matsushita, er, Panasonic right seeing what they did to Quasar and North American electronics/TV manufacturing. Panasonic is going to find themselves on the other side of the fence. I am sorry to say that I won’t miss the Panasonic brand. So long Panasonic. It wasn’t even nice knowing you.

Focusing on OLED is absolutely the right thing to do. But with LG and Samsung releasing large screen OLED panels and Panasonic only showing prototypes at consumer electronics shows, Panasonic is in serious trouble. OLED offers a superior picture at much higher brightness using less energy and at much less weight. But right now, OLED is available for just over 5,000 and at 55 inches blowing away the Kuro’s picture. There is absolutely no way I’d purchase a Panasonic plasma or any plasma over the LG OLED. The Samsung is nice too, but still considerably more costly than the LG offering. And I trust the white subpixels of the LG more than the blue one of the Samsung. The ship has sailed. The day of antiquated plasma televisions is over. Perhaps we should long for the days of the black and white CRT televisions while we’re at it.

April 11, 2014 at 10:30 am
(2) hometheater says:

Jeff – OLED is still having major issues preventing cost-effective mass production for large screens – and a more cost-effective alternative to OLED may be possible: http://hometheater.about.com/od/hometheatervideobasics/ss/Using-Quantum-Dots-To-Enhance-LCD-TV-Performance.htm

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