Panasonic to exit TV market, hopes to build LCD panels for Apple's iPad - report
FYI. I hope not... but who knows! Andrew?
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Well, the company has said that its business strategy is going to be much less focused around TVs: it sees its future more in renewable/sustainable energy products, and technologies such as fuel cells and other energy-saving products for the home and for industry.
Some of its TV panel-making capacity has been switched over to making products such as solar panels, and one of its TV factories has been sold off to Japan Display, which will be concentrating on smaller panels for use in products such as tablets and smartphones.
What it's actually said is that it will cut production of LCD panels for TVs in 2013-14 and concentrate instead on panels for tablets, smartphones and the like.
Instead it will buy in more LCD TV panels from outside sources such as LG Display, which it already uses, increasing the amount of panels it buys in to at least 70% of its requirement this financial year, and more in 2013-14. It's all a matter of cutting costs.
Its Himeji plant, which is already split between TV and smaller panels, will boost the proportion of its capacity used for smaller displays to more than 50%, but will still make LCD TV panels for those manufacturers it supplies
Meanwhile its Amagasaki plasma panel plant will also reduce production of TV panels this year, while boosting output of panels used for electronic signs.
But Panasonic isn't getting out of the TV business: it's expected that its LCD TV sales with move up a little year on year to around 13m sets, although plasma sales will fall by half to around 2.5m.
Panssonic's TV division has made a loss for the last four years, and is thought unlikely to return to profit this financial year.
Audio Editor, Gramophone
I reckon that spells the end of the GT50. People were already saying it was on its way out. Perhaps now just an entry and flagship model? In terms of performance I think they have nearly peaked this year. Good time to buy a new TV now - who knows what price you will pay next year?
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My GT30 is my first plasma TV, and I’m hoping it will last me a good few years yet.
Has things stand now I couldn’t happily go back to an LCD set, and when it does come around to replacing my current TV (3-4 years?) it does make me wonder if plasma will still be around. Falling sales on this scale are only sustainable for so long, so my personal opinion is that plasma may well be coming to the end of it’s lifespan.
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I hope my lasts at least the five year warranty too. Same here I would not like to go back to LCD - too expensive and not good enough. If I did have to replace mine next year I would probably have to go for the Samsung 55 inch, anything else would just be too small for me now. And the weight would fit on my stand.
Hopefully OLED or similar technology would become established in the next 4-5 years, ironing out any problems with the technology.
What sort of measurements do black levels measure on OLED TVs? Are they equal, better, or not better than plasma?
Technically, it is capable of achieving plasma level blacks as there is no backlight.
This explains quite well:
Sounds good. Anything above 0.03 (for black level) I would not be satisfied. The black levels now just stand out for me. I have a Sony 40lx 903 TV too and that goes pretty deep, but plasma would always be my preferred choice now.
I find this genuinely sad. Panasonic has arguably been the only manufacturer that's catered to the videophile market since Pioneer exited the arena.
It seems people generally prefer inaccurate and oversaturated colours, grey blacks, blooming, torching, undefeatable picture sharpening, luminance shifts to compensate for LCD/LED technology's inherent deficiencies, and so on... Affordable OLED also seems a long way off.
When my parents upgraded their CRT television a year or so back, they took me along. I advised them to buy a Panasonic plasma. They opted for a Samsung LED against my advice. They now complain that the colours don't seem right and that dark scenes look awful because the corners of the screen are brighter than the centre. When my father visits he comments that the picture on my V20 looks great and asks why I didn't advise him to buy the same model.
I wonder how long Panasonic will continue to manufacture plasma televisions (could 2013 be the end of the road)?
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I don't think people are preferring inaccurate & over saturated colours.
Panasonic is being forced to compete with the Korean heavyweights on price & design (which adds to the cost) in face of the rising yen. This is ravaging its profit margins. It's a similar story with Sony. People have become more price sensitive since the recession which will take a few more years to overcome.
Samsung & LG have flooded the market with cheap LCD panels, creating a greater supply & weaker demand imbalance, forcing prices further down.
I would like to see Panasonic continuing to make plasmas at least until OLED is well established. Only time will tell.
All of that's true, but plasma televisions are competitively priced (and often cheaper than LCD/LED televisions), yet still represent a relatively niche market. The average consumer (rather than AV enthusiast) typically prefers LCD/LED technology because more accurate plasma images seem dull by comparison, at least under shop display conditions.
Among enthusiasts, plasma televisions have achieved reference status for years now. I can't think of a reputable videophile website that's held an LCD/LED television in such high regard. Indeed, to date, LCD/LED televisions haven't fared as well when tested by professional calibrators.
I'm not trying to downplay the importance of economic factors and Korean manufacturers' capacity to flood the market with cheap panels. I'm merely pointing out that comparably priced plasma televisions do not sell in the same quantities as LCD/LED models. Other consumers' priorities differ from videophiles'. I don't think it's a case of either or... Economic factors are of course profoundly important, but wider consumer tastes and priorities are part of the same equation.
In other words, I think my points about broader consumer preferences are perfectly compatible with your economic/industrial observations. And if consumers wanted the most accurate images possible, they'd all be buying Panasonic plasma televisions and the company's TV division would be in less trouble.
Among enthusiasts, plasma televisions have achieved reference status for years now. I can't think of a reputable videophile website that's held an LCD/LED television in such high regard.
Apart from the 2012 WHF Award Winner of course...
I haven't seen this TV in action and WHF may be correct to extol its virtues. However, the tech reviews I've read reveal that its images are less accurate (both out of the box and post-calibration) than current generation Panasonic plasmas. Just sayin'...
Its a real shame but just goes to compound the fact that a majority of people don't care about the quality of a product, it all comes down to price.
Hopefully Panasonic will balance their sales by buying in the cheap panels from LG, sell them competitively against the piles of cheap dross screens from Samsung etc where they can't currently compete. This could then make their TV manufacture profitable enough to subsidize or make viable the manufacturing of the high end plasma panels. They can then cover all bases, low end and high end. Might not be the end of Plasma screens after all
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