Plasma Presents Problem for Panasonic—Conflicting Messages Cause Confusion - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 91 Old 04-14-2013, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
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It seems that the press and Panasonic are at odds lately; there are conflicting statements from two VPs, on the topic of the company exiting the plasma HDTV market. Other rumors came directly from Japan, claiming that "Panasonic will shut down production at its main Amagasaki plant, reducing production gradually to avoid angering partners and retailers," which added fuel to the fire. The result was a series of articles, from different news outlets, claiming the end is here for the Viera plasma, as well as articles refuting the contention.

 

 

Plasma is already the smallest market segment among flat-panels - photo ©2013 by Mark Henninger

 

Panasonic is in a bind—the future of flat panels is OLED and the present is dominated by LED-lit LCD panels—while the company finds itself with the broadest line of plasma panels of any HDTV manufacturer. How does one make sense of the recent statements about plasmas future? Considering plasma shipments dropped 23% in 2012 while LED/LCD shipments remained flat, the answer probably has something to do with how to exit the market segment as gracefully as possible.

 

The Verge was the first to report on the end of the development of any new plasma panels, which is the source of the latest hullabaloo. Panasonic pitched its new "Studio Master Panel" as the latest in HDTV image quality, finally beating the legendary Pioneer Kuro – a claim that has yet to be properly tested. It is a very particular distinction—a new panel is not something that comes along all the time, so ending new panel research does not mean the end of making the technology perform better—the company likely wants to see some benefit from its investment.

 

Panasonic Display Vice President Kyoshi Okamata told The Verge that some plasma engineers have already been transferred to OLED research, engineers that will work on new panel technologies. Mr. Okamata explicitly said that the new ZT60 uses the "last plasma panel" that Panasonic will develop. Evidently there is room to improve the new panel, and for the technology to be used in less expensive models—at some point in the future. So, what is the roadmap?

 

Panasonic sent out a press release shortly after The Verge article's publication, as reported by Engadget.comHenry Hauser, the Vice President, Merchandising Group of the Panasonic Consumer Marketing Company of North America said:

 

Quote:
"Reports that Panasonic will no longer develop and manufacture Plasma HDTVs are not correct. 

"This week in New York City, Panasonic demonstrated the latest development of our gapless Plasma panel technology in our 2013 Smart VIERA ZT Series Plasma HDTV.  The technology incorporated into our ZT Series Studio Master Panel will be the basis for continued plasma display panel development and production.  While the Smart VIERA ZT Series introduces a new level of Plasma picture quality, we believe there is still room for further improvement and intend to continue to research ways to take our Plasma technology to even higher levels where it also has the potential to be applied in our other Plasma series in the future.   

"VIERA Plasma HDTVs continue to set the standard for picture quality and black level excellence and the ZT Series is another example of the continued ability of Plasma to evolve and continue to deliver a best-in-class HDTV." 

 

Two vice presidents, two different spins on the same situation. How to read between the lines?

 

There is one inescapable reality of plasma—no company is spending money on a 4K version of the technology. Panasonic is all-in for an OLED-based future. Engineering talent and funding has already moved from development of the Studio Master Panel to OLED research, at least according to Mr. Okamata, as quoted in The Verge article:

 

Quote:
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. Panasonic has yet to reveal its OLED plans, though it showed off a prototype model at CES this January and it is in a co-development partnership with Sony. Okamoto said "OLED is one of the key future products" for Panasonic, and that it is continuing to study demand for the televisions before announcing any plans. He elaborated that the company may focus on business sales at first. source: theverge.com

 

How long can plasma last in this environment? For a good hint, one can look at the fate of 720p plasma panels – Samsung and Panasonic still sell them and they represent the most square inches of flat-screen real estate one can buy for the money. Wal-mart and Best Buy both sell 720p units, and like their more expensive home-theater brethren, the 720p units are better than ever, with reduce power draw and better-than-ever resistance to image retention. Availability and price are not the issues holding back 720p plasma, it's just that consumers want 1080p. Going forward, without a leap to 4K resolution, plasma is doomed to obsolescence.

 

Examining Mr. Hauser's statement, what I glean is that Panasonic plans to use the new panel on other lines, perhaps after one-year as an exclusive feature on the ZT60. The other implication—I am really am reading between the lines here—is that there will be at least one more iteration of the ZT, with engineering tweaks that bring performance even closer to the reference ideal. The biggest issue remains the 23% drop in plasma sales last year, which is a serious collapse of demand in an already small market segment. There is no way that Panasonic can continue to introduce new plasma televisions, if the market for the technology simply does not exist. 


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post #2 of 91 Old 04-14-2013, 03:20 PM
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I think once Panasonic sees the how in demand their ZT60 and VT60 are they may (hopefully) reconsider discontinuing PDP production.

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post #3 of 91 Old 04-14-2013, 03:53 PM
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Marketing, marketing, marketing! Panasonic does a poor job at it. You can't compete head to head with super bright LED's. You have to make people see your picture as the best. The cost is outstanding. People love their plasmas. They have to drive those points home!

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post #4 of 91 Old 04-14-2013, 04:58 PM - Thread Starter
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CNET just gave a Panny plasma—the TC-PST60—its highest recommendation ever for a TV, adding a tiny sliver of a sixth star to the five-star editor's choice rating. That's a hopeful sign.

 

http://reviews.cnet.com/flat-panel-tvs/panasonic-tc-p55st60/4505-6482_7-35567256.html


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post #5 of 91 Old 04-14-2013, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

CNET just gave a Panny plasma—the TC-PST60—its highest recommendation ever for a TV, adding a tiny sliver of a sixth star to the five-star editor's choice rating. That's a hopeful sign.


http://reviews.cnet.com/flat-panel-tvs/panasonic-tc-p55st60/4505-6482_7-35567256.html

I just wish they would give us that interface on our 50 series TV's. The current one is absolutely atrocious.
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post #6 of 91 Old 04-14-2013, 10:28 PM
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Wow 96HZ mode on all top models finally. Even though I find it useless on plasma like the reviewer said I like knowing I have it.

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post #7 of 91 Old 04-15-2013, 04:24 AM
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Originally Posted by repete66211 View Post

I think once Panasonic sees the how in demand their ZT60 and VT60 are they may (hopefully) reconsider discontinuing PDP production.

It doesn't sound like they're stopping production. Rather, they're greatly reducing R&D. You'll still be able to buy plasma's in the future. They'll just be the same as the previous year with maybe some features of higher end units bleeding down into lower end units.
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post #8 of 91 Old 04-15-2013, 07:05 AM
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Jesus will they just make up their minds? Rediculous if you ask me.

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post #9 of 91 Old 04-15-2013, 08:13 AM
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Plasma marketing in general has taken a beat down from LCD (LED). A 50" S60 is $700. How much would a 50" LCD with equal or better overall picture quality cost!?

I can only imagine what "Joe consumer" must be thinking when he sees all those TVs lining the walls and BBY. One thing they ARE NOT thinking is, "let me see the latest plasma displays". The age of the informed consumer is yet come, that's for sure.

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post #10 of 91 Old 04-15-2013, 09:08 AM
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Honestly, being someone who used to work in sales the answer to the decrease in sales is simple.

Offer special promotions and push the retailers to push their displays more by offering the store some incentives.

Then again, I will say that part of the reason that I like Panasonic is the fact that they seem to let their products speak for themselves...

I really hope that they atleast keep production going until OLED becomes affordable

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post #11 of 91 Old 04-15-2013, 12:58 PM
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So it is still possible they will make a 100" 4K plasma?!?!?!?
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post #12 of 91 Old 04-15-2013, 01:41 PM
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So it is still possible they will make a 100" 4K plasma?!?!?!?


It's possible, but it would be hellaciously expensive. Panasonic does make a 152" 4K plasma on custom order for $500,000.

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post #13 of 91 Old 04-15-2013, 01:48 PM
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I just wish they would give us that interface on our 50 series TV's. The current one is absolutely atrocious.

Just recently purchased the TC-P65VT50 and love it - can't the newer interface mentioned just be upgraded on our sets with a software update?
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post #14 of 91 Old 04-15-2013, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by imagic View Post

CNET just gave a Panny plasma—the TC-PST60—its highest recommendation ever for a TV, adding a tiny sliver of a sixth star to the five-star editor's choice rating. That's a hopeful sign.


http://reviews.cnet.com/flat-panel-tvs/panasonic-tc-p55st60/4505-6482_7-35567256.html

They still have to make money

A great product doesn't necessarily succeed ....Pioneer proved that with the Kuro line of TV's

I think there are some big changes coming in the next 2-3 years...Panasonic, Sony and Sharp are all losing money on their TV business...while Samsung and LG are the only profitable ones of the major brands


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post #15 of 91 Old 04-17-2013, 04:46 PM
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They way I see it,if they keep it that's fine and If don't keep it im not buying another tv, if the one I got aint broke,i have 65 vt-30 and which I got last year,for me,im happy what I have.
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post #16 of 91 Old 04-17-2013, 08:00 PM
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As a videophile planning a new display purchase, I have considered a plasma. While the picture may be outstanding, I can't get past the issues of energy use and heat production. I have had to live with components that produced so much heat you had to keep the furnace fan running and turn down the thermostat just to watch a movie comfortably. As someone who drives a hybrid, it's hard for me to justify a display technology that uses x3 the energy of another. I'm willing to compromise on image quality if the display is energy efficient and cool. I think a lot of other people feel the same way. Unless these issues can be fixed, and it doesn't sound like they will be, plasma is obsolete.
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post #17 of 91 Old 04-17-2013, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by avdoc View Post

As a videophile planning a new display purchase, I have considered a plasma. While the picture may be outstanding, I can't get past the issues of energy use and heat production. I have had to live with components that produced so much heat you had to keep the furnace fan running and turn down the thermostat just to watch a movie comfortably. As someone who drives a hybrid, it's hard for me to justify a display technology that uses x3 the energy of another. I'm willing to compromise on image quality if the display is energy efficient and cool. I think a lot of other people feel the same way. Unless these issues can be fixed, and it doesn't sound like they will be, plasma is obsolete.

I think you're wrong. The people that post here are the minority. Most people are completely clueless about display technologies and use the following criteria:

  1. Is it on Sale?
  2. Is the right size?
  3. Does it have Netflix?
  4. It's thin right?
  5. The salesman said LED was better!

My unscientific opinion is based on talking to my neighbors and family members. Only one of them purchased their latest TV based on anything other than price and size.
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post #18 of 91 Old 04-18-2013, 08:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robnix View Post

I think you're wrong. The people that post here are the minority. Most people are completely clueless about display technologies and use the following criteria:

  1. Is it on Sale?
  2. Is the right size?
  3. Does it have Netflix?
  4. It's thin right?
  5. The salesman said LED was better!

My unscientific opinion is based on talking to my neighbors and family members. Only one of them purchased their latest TV based on anything other than price and size.


Perhaps unscientific, but I think it is a true statement. Most of the people I work with (and these are all very tech savvy people) see little but size and price as valid criteria.
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post #19 of 91 Old 04-18-2013, 11:10 AM
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Perhaps unscientific, but I think it is a true statement. Most of the people I work with (and these are all very tech savvy people) see little but size and price as valid criteria.

Not to mention grabbing the Sunday Ads to see what the best price is that they can get for the biggest screen and heading to the store!

I used to wait for the Black Friday ads to see where I could get a flat screen for less than $10 an inch. I was thrilled to find a 32" for $249 or an Early Bird sale at $199. But now, I'm comparing reviews and researching and have the Mrs leaning towards the ZT60!
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post #20 of 91 Old 04-18-2013, 02:25 PM
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Well today I seen 65inch st60 I was very impress with it,to me Plasma TV's not dead at all
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post #21 of 91 Old 04-19-2013, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avdoc View Post

As a videophile planning a new display purchase, I have considered a plasma. While the picture may be outstanding, I can't get past the issues of energy use and heat production. I have had to live with components that produced so much heat you had to keep the furnace fan running and turn down the thermostat just to watch a movie comfortably. As someone who drives a hybrid, it's hard for me to justify a display technology that uses x3 the energy of another. I'm willing to compromise on image quality if the display is energy efficient and cool. I think a lot of other people feel the same way. Unless these issues can be fixed, and it doesn't sound like they will be, plasma is obsolete.


Agreed. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that it’s 2013, a lot of people here are still willing to shell out $$$ for plasma TVs, and are willing to deal with image retention, buzzing, heat, AND input lag on some models.
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post #22 of 91 Old 04-19-2013, 10:15 AM
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Agreed. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that it’s 2013, a lot of people here are still willing to shell out $$$ for plasma TVs, and are willing to deal with image retention, buzzing, heat, AND input lag on some models.

No IR or buzzing on my VT50. I live near Seattle, so a little extra heat is nice. Input lag is negligible.

I just can't wrap my head around the fact that it's 2013, a lot of people here are still willing to shell out $$$$$ for LED TV's, and are willing to deal with poor black levels, clouding, uniformity issues, bad off angle viewing, and input lag on all models.

I guess there's no perfect TV is there?
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post #24 of 91 Old 04-20-2013, 10:54 AM
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I guess there's no perfect TV is there?

No, there is not. I guess as long as your happy with your plasma, and I am happy with my full-array LED, then that is all that matters. Since you have no IR, no buzzing, and the heat doesn't bother you, then perhaps you got a good set. Perhaps I got a good one as well, because I don't have uniformity issues, poor black levels, clouding, or bad off-viewing angles.
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No, there is not. I guess as long as your happy with your plasma, and I am happy with my full-array LED, then that is all that matters. Since you have no IR, no buzzing, and the heat doesn't bother you, then perhaps you got a good set. Perhaps I got a good one as well, because I don't have uniformity issues, poor black levels, clouding, or bad off-viewing angles.

Nothing like a good old fashioned win/win!

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post #26 of 91 Old 04-21-2013, 06:36 AM
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Price....
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robnix View Post

I think you're wrong. The people that post here are the minority. Most people are completely clueless about display technologies and use the following criteria:

  1. Is it on Sale?
  2. Is the right size?
  3. Does it have Netflix?
  4. It's thin right?
  5. The salesman said LED was better!

My unscientific opinion is based on talking to my neighbors and family members. Only one of them purchased their latest TV based on anything other than price and size.

+1
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post #28 of 91 Old 04-21-2013, 08:40 PM
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No, there is not. I guess as long as your happy with your plasma, and I am happy with my full-array LED, then that is all that matters. Since you have no IR, no buzzing, and the heat doesn't bother you, then perhaps you got a good set. Perhaps I got a good one as well, because I don't have uniformity issues, poor black levels, clouding, or bad off-viewing angles.

Wait...what do you own? I know of no LED,full array or not, that matches PQ in all areas mentioned AND provides off angle viewing. And that's not even mentioning I can get better PQ on plasma at a WAY better value.
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post #29 of 91 Old 04-21-2013, 10:50 PM
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Agreed. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that it’s 2013, a lot of people here are still willing to shell out $$$ for plasma TVs, and are willing to deal with image retention, buzzing, heat, AND input lag on some models.

I bought my panasonic plasma in 2009, no image retention, no buzzing, no heat issues, and no input lag. It beats the crap out of the Samsung LED-LCD that my father in law paid 2,000 bucks for just a few months ago.

I'm sorry, but I can't wrap my head around how obviously better the image from a plasma is, and people are still willing to shell out $$$ for an LCD. wink.gif

My next T.V will probably be an OLED, but I can't see myself buying an LED-LCD
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^You gotta' shell out ~$4500 (and up) to get the LEDs worth a damn, and even those are becoming extinct due to a lack of consumer interest.
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