UPDATE: No more Panasonic plasma panels

12 Apr 2013

Panasonic ZT60 plasma

 

 

UPDATE: Panasonic officially ends plasma TV production

 

Published 12.04.13:
Here's the official statement we've received this afternoon from Panasonic.

On reports the company is ending its development of plasma display panels, it says:

'Regarding the growth strategy for the TV set business, the company is currently looking into the product and regional strategies from a number of perspectives. Regarding the PDP business, Panasonic will continue to develop and deliver value added products focusing on the best picture and new essential features.

'The company has been holding launch events of its new 2013 products all over the world. The new products are very much appreciated for their enhanced design and best picture quality by dealers and editors. We will continue to meet our customers’ requirements in our future PDP products.'

And on the subject of the availability of Panasonic OLED TVs as a commercial products:

'Regarding the establishment of the business and commercialisation of OLED, we will decide while watching the progress of the development, but nothing is decided at the moment.

'The RGB all printing method developed by Panasonic and announced at CES is the most suitable method for performance cost and large screen OLEDs.

'However, there are still issues that need to be overcome in the technology for mass production, and from now on we will accelerate the development, establish the mass production technology and work to enhance the level of completion.'


Posted 11.04.13

Panasonic has developed its last plasma display panel, a senior official has confirmed to reporters.

Speaking at the launch of the ZT60 TV in New York – the model is sold here as the ZT65 – the vice president of Panasonic Display, Kiyoshi Okamoto, told The Verge that plasma panel development has ceased, and that the new flagship set uses 'the last plasma panel' to come out of its research and development operation.

How much has Panasonic spent on its plasma project? Click here for the answer

However, he also said that the company will continue to make and sell TVs at least into next year – in line with information we were previously given under embargo – as the company had a responsibility to customers to continue production and sales.

Okamoto says there are no plans to restart plasma development at any time in the future, and that 'OLED is one of the key future products' for the future. As previously reported, Panasonic has an OLED development partnership with Sony, but Okamoto said the company is continuing to study demand for such screens before announcing its plans.

He did, however, suggest that Panasonic may concentrate on business applications for OLED at first. That would be in line with company president Kazuhiro Tsuga's suggestion of moving away from selling consumer products and becoming more of a supplier of solutions to other industries, part of his Midterm Management Plan.

Business sales are thought to be more profitable for the company than consumer operations, and it wants to be sure it can make money from domestic OLED TVs before offering them for sale.

Okamoto also said that the company would continue to advertise the superior picture quality of plasma over LCD/LED TVs, but said Panasonic had invested too heavily in plasma, and should now now invest more in LCD, especially in the marketing of the sets.

We've asked Panasonic HQ in Osaka for a statement of its intentions in the TV market, and will update as soon as we have any further information.

 

Posted 28.03.13
Panasonic president Kazuhiro Tsuga has laid out his three-year strategy for returning his company to profit, and committed it to getting its TV division back into the black.

But he has a wider vision of where Panasonic will be in 2016: no longer a maker of consumer products, but working with partners to provide complete solutions, as you can read in our report on Panasonic's Midterm Management Plan.

 

Posted 27.03.13
Panasonic has responded to reports it's set to exit the plasma TV business, saying that 'we are looking into a variety of options, but nothing has been decided at the moment.'

The full statement says that 'The content of the report regarding our Plasma Display Panel (PDP) business is not something announced by Panasonic.

'In regard to the PDP business, Panasonic will continue to deliver value added products, proposing new ways for our customers to enjoy their TVs. This includes taking advantage of PDP features such as the touch pen function as well as the big screen and high picture quality.

'In addition, for non-TV use, we are expanding our Business to Business (B2B) opportunities for the PDP business with products such as the Interactive Plasma Display.

'Regarding the growth strategy for the TV business, we are looking into a variety of options, but nothing has been decided at the moment.

'Regarding new products for 2013, in follow up to our global announcement in January 2013 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in the US, we are holding subsequent local product launch events worldwide. Panasonic has been enforcing global business, aiming to sell value added products with better design and high picture quality that meet the needs of our global customers.

'There will be no change of service support for PDPs, and our dealers should have no concerns about continuing to sell Panasonic PDPs.'

As reported below, Panasonic president Kazuhiro Tsuga is to hold a news conference in Japan at 17.30 tomorrow, during which he will announce the company's medium-term business plan. It's also thought he may comment on Panasonic's more far-reaching plans for structural reform.


Posted 18.03.13
Panasonic is set to exit the plasma TV business as soon as next year, as part of a scaling back of its overall television operations.

Reports from Japan say the company is expected to announce next week that it's starting a three-year plan to trim down its loss-making TV business, and that the strategy could see it stopping plasma panel production next year and also reducing the scale of its in-house LCD panel manufacturing.

Panasonic's TV business is currently generating falling sales, with 2015 revenue expected to be less than half that achieved in 2009.

Panasonic Amagasaki

As a result, the division is likely to undergo radical downsizing starting in the next financial year, one element of which will be the ending of plasma production at the company's Amagasaki plant near Osaka, pictured above. That's expected to take place as soon as next year.

Sources at the company told the Japanese press the company would reduce plasma TV production gradually in consideration of relationships with retailers and other partners, and will consider withdrawing from that sector of the market during the 2014-15 financial year.

MORE: Panasonic TX-L50ET60B review – first Panasonic 2013 TV review

It has already reportedly halted development of any new plasma models, and earlier this year announced the closure of its plasma TV factory in Shanghai.

LCD production will also be scaled back. The company's expected to have bought in 70% of the display panels it used this financial year, and next year it will increase that buy-in, using partners such as LG Display.

Panasonic Himeji

Its state of the art LCD panel factory in Himeji (above) will be turned over to making more profitable small-size LCDs, for use in devices such as smartphones and tablets.

MORE: Samsung Galaxy S4 hands-on review

It's reported that Panasonic is continuing its joint development with Sony of mass-production for OEL/OLED TVs, and hopes to enter this market in 2014-15. Joint manufacturing, or even outsourcing of production, will be used to minimise the company's investment.

Other reports in Japan suggest the company is to sell its healthcare business and use the proceeds to boost its TV business, but it's not clear whether this sale would fund the OEL development program or be used to help offset the costs of the plasma/LCD pull-back.

Panasonic responded to the reports with a statement that no specific decisions have yet been made, but talks on its entire business strategy are ongoing.

Panasonic's 2013 TV range was announced at the start of the year, and includes plasma and LED sets – but how long that will remain the case seems uncertain.

MORE: Panasonic launches 32 new TVs for 2013
MORE: Panasonic confirms flagship ZT65 plasma TV

Written by Andrew Everard

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Comments

I don't see drawing on the screen the future of TV, no wonder they're having financial problems.

 

I just bagged a TX-P55VT50B for £1000 at House of Fraiser, ok theres no remote or glasses but the screen is like brand new, it did come with the touch pad though and instructions.

bargain or what?

This is without doubt very bad news for lovers of quality screens. Panasonic have always provided the best TV's going with Plasma always having the best picture quality. My 50in which is a few years old now is still going strong, I may have to rush out for a 60in now! Samsung have never come close in any respects, so are still out of the question. Panasonic is one of Japan's most respected companies, possibly 'the most', seems we are going for the cheap option over quality again!

Well I purchased a Panasonic TX-P50GT50 plasma a couple of months ago and it is without a shadow of doubt the best TV I have seen and with none of the issues that a small handful of customers claim to have experienced. I don't doubt that other display technologies are catching up and will eventually surpass Plasma but for now I have a stunning TV that has me thinking "wow" every time I look at it (and with the peace of mind of a 5 year John Lewis warranty). So if Plasma really is in it's twilight I'm happy to enjoy it's final hurrah! 

It come as no surprise to me, it is a loss making division. It is  not there to satisfy the needs of the enthusiast market.

IMHO if they had got their act together after 2009 with rising blacks and woeful customer service, they may have been able to keep plasma in production, All we got year on year with new plasma panels from Panasonic were new problems and more irate customers,

Their blanket response of 'within specification' for problems like green blobs, verticalbanding, 50hz issues was more than enough to drive keen Panasonic buyers elsewhere,I've been burnt myself too many times. New TV technology on the horizon gives thediscerning cinemaphile a chance to explore different brands with better customer service (one hopes!!).

It's futile to give plaudits to its swan song Viera ZT60/65 a silly money limited edition product that very few will have the pleasure of owning,

I expect the aftersales to be of Panasonic's usual standard no matter the price ; I'm still smarting from their Z1 flagship. :-(I'm not green, once bitten, twice shy! lol Tongue

I love my Panasonic 42" G-series plasma, bought just over three years ago. Picture quality is fantastic, and viewing angle is excellent so in our square living room we don't have to be sitting straight on. I use an A/V amp and decent speakers so although the built-in speakers are just OK, it doesn't matter.

People may say that plasmas are less power efficient than an LCD, but unless you're watching too much TV that doesn't matter.

It streams videos off the network if they're encoded OK, and vieracast is meh.

 

I will strongly consider buying a replacement if there's heavy discounting and dumping of stock, probably a 46" one, and the top model rather than a humble G (because I want freeSat HD tuner, which my G15 has but they removed in the next year's model).

Real shame.

I hope Samsungs plasma range, which I was somewhat considering when I bought my Panasonic, is good enough to fill the void if this story is true.

I think that leaves a projector and screen as the front runners for our next home theater... 

For we older tech fans Panasonic and Pioneer TV's always represented (generally) the best of the affordable breed so it's still a shock that they (of all company's) can't make a profit. It look's like the Kuro idea has gone to the big plasma factory in the sky - I've always thought those Pioneer set's had the best pics I's ever seen, but I looked at some Samsung LED's recently (albeit in a showroom) and the quality was excellent.

Yes, that's what happened with Kuro. But I'm not sure about Panasonic. Problems with 2012 range were widely reported. Yes, plasma lovers may rush out to get one of them, & ZT60/65 may benefit the most due to limited numbers. But it may be counter productive as well.

I don't know bigboss - plasma fans may rush to buy what could be the last great hurrah for the tech...

This had to happen some day or the other. I'm surprised at the timing of this; 2013 range is just about coming into shops.