Panasonic will no longer develop plasma technology. In a fate that is eerily reminiscent of Pioneer's exit from the plasma business after the Kuro line amazed the press with never-before seen quality, Panasonic has confirmed its inevitable exit from the category. News of the latest development in the saga surrounding the fate of the venerable technology comes directly from display VP Kiyoshi Okamoto, as disclosed in an interview with The Verge.Panasonic's New York Press Event - Photo © by Mark Henninger
It turns out that the new ZT60, demonstrated over the past couple of days in NYC—I was there to see the demo—will be the final statement from a company that, until yesterday, denied it was exiting the plasma category. In fact is was denied at length, with charts and numbers explaining how 11% of the market is actually not bad. Now the exit is inevitable, and official.
Panasonic sees OLED technology as the future of high-fidelity display, it is also reacting to a market that has overwhelmingly opted for LED-based LCD televisions, regardless of the technical merits of plasma HDTV panels. Thankfully the IPS LED panels I saw at the same event looked very good.
Ending research on another new panel does not translate to an end in production, but the "rumor
" that Panasonic will be closing its primary remaining plasma production facilities next year no longer seems very far-fetched. It also explains the description of the ZT60s availability as "limited".
"Panasonic will never make a higher-quality plasma television."
"When asked if plasma R&D may ever start back up, Okamoto said that isn't the plan. The company has shifted at least some of its plasma engineers to OLED development, with which Panasonic plans to eventually replace its plasma lineup." source: theverge.com