Panasonic will stop selling plasma-based televisions
early next year, according to reports. Sources claim the electronics producer will continue selling the televisions up until the end of its financial year, March 2014, though the company itself advises that it is still considering the options for its plasma display business, and has yet to decide its fate.
The TV division of Panasonic is said by Reuters
to be a major factor in the company's combined $15 billion net loss for the last two financial years, with the division having an operating loss of 88.5 billion yen ($913 million) for the last year alone. The closure of its only plasma panel factory in western Japan will see Panasonic add an impairment loss of over 40 billion yen ($410 million) to its finances, though this will likely be taken out as part of a 120 billion yen ($1.2 billion) restructuring budget.
Reports in April
suggested that Panasonic had stopped research in plasma panels, with the company's display vice president Kiyoshi Okamoto advising that the televisions were using the "last plasma panel" from Panasonic's R&D section, and that employees had been moved over from plasma to OLED development. Shortly after, an executive from Panasonic USA corrected
the claim, stating that the "technology incorporated into our ZT Series Studio Master Panel will be the basis for continued plasma display panel development and production."
In 2012, plasma televisions made up less than 6 percent of global television shipments, with LCD televisions making up 87 percent.