In a statement made today in Japan, Pioneer has confirmed it's to cease in-house manufacture of plasma displays - but the company says it's not changing its policy of aiming for the upper end of the home TV market.

And it will be making one more series of self-built plasma screens - those due for launch this year.

The statement says that: "we have judged that maintaining the cost competitiveness of plasma display panels at projected sales volumes will be difficult going forward.

"Accordingly, we have decided to terminate in-house plasma display panel production and to procure these panels externally, after panel production for our next series of models is complete."

While the company says it will be launching LCD screens in Europe in the second half of this year, that doesn't mean Pioneer is abandoning its plans to cater for the upper end of the home display market with its Kuro brand.

More after the break

The statement says it will "maintain its fundamental strategy for the display business—supply premium models with high picture and sound quality befitting the image of its brands at prices matching their added value."

Talking about its much-reported alliance with Sharp, Pioneer says it will:

  • Develop super-thin speakers for Sharp products
  • Develop LCD TVs that carry on the legacy of the Pioneer “KURO” series in terms of high picture and sound quality
  • And work together with Sharp to develop the Blu-ray related businesses of both companies.

In fact, Blu-ray will play a major part in Pioneer's future plans. It says it plans to "concentrate internal product development on Blu-ray Disc players, which are expected to find growing adoption worldwide. Meanwhile, we will use joint development and outsourcing to enhance our lineup of Blu-ray Disc recorders and other products."

And where will Pioneer's new plasma display panels come from? Panasonic. as has been widely suggested? The company says only that it is "currently in discussions on the feasibility of procuring panel modules that may incorporate the Company's proprietary technologies. Details will be announced as soon as they are finalized."