Panasonic has officially confirmed the end of its plasma TV business, with production of Panasonic plasma display panels to cease in December 2013.
Business operations at the three Panasonic PDP factories in Japan will stop by March 2014, with the existing range of award-winning TVs set to be Panasonic's last.
Rumours have dogged Panasonic's plasma TV business this year, with the first hints of an end to its plasma TV business coming in March, followed recently by a fresh rumour at the start of October 2013, which was subsequently denied.
In the statement released today, Panasonic states that it will end plasma production "in order to create a business structure that can respond to changes in the business environment and to acclerate the growth strategy of the company".
Panasonic UK has confirmed to whathifi.com that "post-purchase service of Plasma TVs will not be affected and will continue to be available after March 2014".
Panasonic is bullish, quite fairly, about its strength in the plasma TV market over the last decade or so, having kept faith with plasma for its larger sets, which have been rightly revered in AV circles. The Panasonic TX-P42GT60, TX-L32E6B, TX-P50GT60 and TX-P55VT65B all won best-in-class gongs at our Awards 2013.
The company cites "the rapid development of large-screen LCDs" and "severe price competiton in the global market brought on by the Lehman Shock in September 2008" as reasons for adapting its business away from plasma TV production.
The company also confirms that despite "high appraisal" for its plasma TVs, there had been "declining demand for PDP in the flat panel display market".
The statement goes on to say, "it was judged that continuing the business would be difficult and a decision was made to stop production".
The existing Panasonic 2013 TVs will be the last Panasonic plasmas, with the company stating it "will work to develop and provide appealing products which meet the demands of customers, and will aim towards new development of its visual and display businesses".
The company says it's "embracing the possibilities with our 4K LCD-LED and other LCD-LED models.
"For example, we are very excited about the recent launch of the world’s first 4K Ultra HD TV with a 4K 50/60p Input designed based on HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort™1.2a specification.
"Panasonic is also working on further developing OLED technology, recently showcasing at IFA 2013 a 4K OLED 55-inch panel prototype produced through the 'RGB all-printing method'."
The news comes on the same day that Sony announced a 40% cut in its full-year profit forecast, citing the Sony TV division as one of the struggling arms of the Japanese giant's business.
by Joe Cox