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