Following up on last year’s speculation that Panasonic may be exiting the LCD TV business, a new piece at DigitalVersus suggests that the company may be announcing that they are going to cease R&D into their plasma line, as well, turning all efforts to OLED-based technologies (which might end up being a good thing, if rumors that LG and Samsung are shying away from OLED for now are true — although, they may not be).
This news would be rather bittersweet, since Panasonic was for the longest time a plasma-only company, and has been at the forefront of the technology, picking up Pioneer’s KURO patents and putting those assets into their high-end TVs. By sharing the OLED burden with Sony, though, both companies will get more for less investment, and since Panasonic and Sony are both experiencing record losses, thanks to a softening of the TV market and unusually strong Japanese yen, it could be a very beneficial move, indeed. Chinese OEM-based sets like Vizio and Westinghouse have been eating up the large TV market with low-cost, value oriented sets. Will customers come back for quality? Only time will tell, but maybe a disposable TV or two will put the big Japanese manufacturers back on top.