Panasonic Announces an End to Plasma TVs

This is the end.

This is an update to an earlier article, based on new information.

You thought Halloween was for treats. Not this time. Panasonic announced to its investors today that its plasma TV business would be over by the end of March 2014.

From the press release:

Panasonic Corporation today announced that in order to create a business structure that can respond to changes in the business environment and to accelerate the growth strategy of the company, the company will end the production of plasma display panels (PDP) in December 2013, and stop business operations at the Amagasaki P3 Factory (production currently stopped), the Amagasaki P5 Factory (production currently suspended), and the Amagasaki P4 Factory, which is currently operating, by the end of March 2014.

Home theater enthusiasts may have to start hoarding their favorite plasma TVs. Panasonic, makers of the popular VIERA plasma TVs, will reportedly stop making plasma TVs after March 2014, according to MarketWatch, citing the Japanese Nikkei index.

According to Panasonic public financial statements, the company has lost more than $15 billion in the plasma TV business over the past two years. According to MarketWatch, Panasonic is in talks to sell one of its three plasma display factory buildings in western Japan with the other two remaining facilities also earmarked for a possible sale.

The plasma TV marketshare has been steadily shrinking over the past few years. According to NPD DsplaySearch, plasma TVs accounted for 40 percent of flat panel sales in 2010. In 2013, they are expected to account for just 2.5 percent. Panasonic is the No. 5 most used TV brand among CE Pro 100 integrators.

The losses have occurred primarily due to eroding prices from the LCD competition combined with the strong Japanese yen currency that simply made it too expensive to make the products. According to the report, Panasonic plans to continue to sell plasmas until its inventory runs out.

Similar reports surfaced in the fall of 2011 and then again earlier this year.

Until now, due to the superiority of the picture, Panasonic’s PDPs have received high appraisal and there has been firm demand from customers worldwide. However, due to rapid, drastic changes in the business environment and a declining demand for PDP in the flat panel display market, it was judged that continuing the business would be difficult and a decision was made to stop production.

In the meantime, check out our review of the Panasonic Plasma VT60 and ZT60 models.

If you’re wondering how Panasonic’s LCD TVs are, check out this recent review of the WT60 model.

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