Pioneer stops plasma production
With news that Pioneer is reporting a $93-million loss in their plasma division, they are now stopping production of their highly praised plasma televisions. They are not exiting the plasma market, however, as they’re joining forces with Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. (parent of Panasonic) to co-develop plasma technologies.
This is pretty big news. For the past year Pioneer has had a successful marketing campaign to promote the new Kuro plasmas with the greatest black levels and contrast levels of any commercial display ever. In January at CES they showed Extreme Contrast Kuro panels with such great contrast and black levels they challenged the OLED displays, and even blew the current Kuro panels out of the water. They also showed an incredibly thin plasma at 12mm thick.
Being on the vanguard of plasma technology, this is certainly a big change. Pioneer was projecting over $97-million profit this year and is actually posting a $77-million loss, so it seems like the company is really trying to save the ship by dumping extra weight. In December Fujitsu closed up shop on plasma for good, leaving Pioneer as the only remaining high-end plasma manufacturer. Pioneer was the fifth largest plasma manufacturer this past year.
The obvious questions for the future are: What will come of Project Kuro? Will Panasonic have Kuro technology in their panels now? Will plasma survive or will LCD have killed off this glorious technology?