Panasonic Shutting the Last Plasma TV Plant in Japan

9 October 2013Technology

Reiji Murai and Sophie Knight, reporting for Reuters via The Globe and Mail:

The closure will take Japan completely out of the plasma TV business, which has been eclipsed by sales of LCD televisions in recent years as they moved into larger-screen sizes, while South Korean rivals came to dominate plasma as well as LCDs.

Sony, which invented the Trinitron color TV set that offered much brighter images, dominated the industry along with its Japanese peers from the 1970s until the end of the century, driving U.S. competitors such as General Electric, RCA, Sylvania and Magnavox out of the business.

But those decades of dominance ended abruptly as the Japanese giants stumbled in the shift to flat-screen TVs, taking billions of dollars in write-offs for failed efforts to keep pace with nimbler rivals elsewhere in Asia.

It is a shame that Panasonic, one of the highest-regarded manufacturers of plasma screen televisions, is exiting this market. LCDs make sense for many reasons – they have fewer issues with burn-in and are much more energy efficient – but you still can’t beat the image quality of a really good plasma screen.