Digital Spy says Hitachi will cease TV production in Japan, although it will continue to sell its Wooo televisions, made by outside contractors. Hitachi has been outsourcing its TV manufacturing for several years with one active plant left in Japan that reportedly made 100,000 sets per month.
The news comes just after TVs from Samsung, LG, Toshiba and Sony made a quite a buzz at CES 2012 in Las Vegas. However, TV manufacturers’ stocks suffered in 2011, including Hitachi’s that fell 3 percent.
The announcement also comes just weeks after Hitachi and others agreed to pay penalties for price fixing LCDs.
What may surprise some people most is that Hitachi still made TVs at all. The company virtually disappeared from the US market a few years ago, but continued to sell its products in other markets.
One of the things that makes this news especially troublesome is that in its day Hitachi was driving innovation, not following behind it. For example, the world was very excited to see gesture control in TVs at this year’s CES. Hitachi showed that in 2009.
Who marketed the first ultra-thin LCD TV? Guess. That’s right. In 2008 Hitachi offered a 1.5-inch thin LCD TV. Around the same time the company also showed prototype plasma TVs in the 1-inch range.
Hitachi was also an early Blu-ray developer and manufactured the first Blu-ray disc camcorder, including one which combined Blu-ray recording with a hard disc drive.