Is the curtain coming down on plasma? Panasonic may cease plasma manufacturing in fiscal 2014.

panasonicVT60As the folks at Sharp and Pioneer discovered, sometimes having the best technology doesn’t guarantee financial success. According to both Reuters and the Japanese business paper, The Nikkei, Panasonic may have decided to begin a three-year downsizing of its entire consumer television division with plasma technology destined for the chopping block in fiscal 2014. After five consecutive quarters of losses, and projections that the once profitable segment that earned $10.5 billion in 2009/2010 would fall to less than $5 billion by the end of 2015, it doesn’t make a lot of sense that Panasonic would allow the decline to continue and drag down the rest of the company.

Having already secured a deal with Sony to manufacture OLED panels, does this rumored decision portend a slow down in LCD production as well; almost abandoning the market to Sharp, LG, and Samsung? Panasonic has already confirmed that it plans on ending plasma TV panel production at its main plant in Amagasaki in 2014, and according to the Nikkei, it has already written off the value of the plant’s production equipment.

Panasonic has apparently ceased research and development on the next generation of plasma TV panels; citing the inefficiency of developing both plasma and LCD at the same time when demand is shrinking both in Japan and in other markets. Another story from Reuters suggests that Panasonic may also be considering to sell-off its healthcare division to raise at least $1 billion to improve its cash flow situation.

Having laid off close to 46,000 employees in the past two years alone, cutting its losses in consumer TV might be the only way for the Japanese manufacturer to save itself; with consumers being the biggest loser in the deal considering the high quality of Panasonic’s plasma HDTVs. 

In a statement to Reuters, Panasonic did not rule out the move, saying that it’s “considering a number of options” for its TV business, but so far, “nothing has been decided.”

What is clear from all of the rumors is that the once mighty Japanese manufacturer has hit hard times; you don’t cease making your best products, sell off profitable divisions, and liquidate real estate assets if you are financially sound. The loss of Panasonic’s expertise in regard to plasma would be a major blow to the HDTV market, especially with affordable OLED HDTVs years away at this point. How this will affect Samsung and LG who still offer plasma HDTVs is anyone’s guess, but it may be a good time to look for a bargain on one of the 2013 Panasonic Viera 3D plasmas because they may be the best HDTV the average consumer will be able to afford until OLED hits Costco.


Google’s Stadia is the future of gaming, and that’s bad news for our planet

Google’s upcoming Stadia cloud gaming service, and its competitors, are ready to change the way gamers play, but in doing so they may kick off a new wave of data center growth – with unfortunate consequences for the environment.

BlackBerry Messenger to shut down in May, be replaced by enterprise version

BlackBerry Messenger for consumers will shut down at the end of May, nearly six years after it was launched. The app is going back to its roots, in a way, as it is being replaced by the much simpler BlackBerry Messenger Enterprise.

Toyota leads $1 billion investment in Uber’s self-driving tech division

In a move that has been a long time coming, Uber filed its S-1 documents, which sets the stage for the company to finally go public with an initial public offering. The company could be valued at more than $100 billion.
Home Theater

The best TVs you can buy right now, from budget to big screen

Looking for a new television? In an oversaturated market, buying power is at an all-time high, but you'll need to cut through the rough to find a diamond. We're here to help with our picks for the best TVs of 2019.
Home Theater

What’s new on Netflix and what movies and shows are leaving in May 2019

Our complete list of what's new on Netflix for May 2019 and which titles will be removed will help you catch up on your bingeing, and also ensure you don't miss any titles heading into the streaming ether.
Home Theater

Dream on: The concert of the future is in Vegas, and Aerosmith leads the charge

Aerosmith has partnered with THX, L-Acoustics, 1More, and Mixhalo to provide fans with an unparalleled, tech-fueled concert experience for the band’s 50th anniversary. Here’s how this one concert series could shape the future of live…
Home Theater

Beats Powerbeats Pro: Everything you need to know about the earphones

Apple will release a fully wireless pair of earphones in May from its Beats brand. The Powerbeats Pro earphones have impressive features to compete with the AirPods, along with a litany of other options. Here's everything we know.
Home Theater

Rock out, dance, or just nod along with the best Bluetooth speakers

The market is saturated with wireless audio solutions fit for any and all circumstances. Check out our picks for the best Bluetooth speakers available, whether you'll be listening in the kitchen or on a mountaintop.
Buying Guides

Control is within your grasp with one of our favorite universal remotes

Get ready to simplify your home. Our top choices for the best universal remotes let you easily control your Blu-ray player, DVR, TV, A/V receiver, or any other device you may have tucked in your media hub.
Home Theater

Any night can be a night at the movies with the best home theater projectors

Are you sick and tired of those cumbersome big screen TVs? Don’t want to spend big for a huge TV? These home theater projectors will bring you that big screen experience without breaking the bank.
Home Theater

Don’t cash in that 401(k)! These are the best 4K TVs you can get for under $500

These days, you can land a pretty epic 4K TV for under $500. Still, sorting through the litany of options online can be both time-consuming and overwhelming. Check out our list of the best 4K TVs under $500 to cut through the clutter.
Home Theater

Roland’s Amazon-exclusive BTM-1 Bluetooth speaker doubles as a guitar amp

Roland, long known for its many digital instruments, has made an Amazon-exclusive Bluetooth speaker for musicians on the go. With a guitar cable input and overdrive effect, it might be the perfect portable rig for guitarists.
Home Theater

The best noise-canceling headphones paint your music on a cleaner canvas

Drowning out the sound of babies, jet engines, and the outside world isn't as difficult as it seems. Here are the best noise-canceling headphones, whether you're concerned with style, comfort, or sound.
Home Theater

Block the outside world, tune into your own with the best in-ear headphones

Over-the-ear headphones offer top-flight sound, but they're not so easy to take along with you. If you're looking to upgrade your portable sound, check out our favorite in-ear headphones -- there's a model for every user and every budget.