Like plasma TVs? If you’ve got the money, you might want to stock up and or at least put one in storage, because they’re not long for this world. At least, not from Panasonic.
An Ignominous End
Don’t expect much in the way of news or explanation for this: Panasonic mostly blames “rapid, drastic change” in the business market and an ensuing decline in demand for consumer-based panels. But the message itself is as clear as it gets: Nobody wants plasma TVs, at least on the consumer market, so Panasonic isn’t making them anymore. And that’s bad for other plasma makers, since Panasonic is the world leader in plasma displays: If they’re hurting, expect most of the major plasma makers to follow suit.
But how did such a vaunted technology, a step forward in TVs when it was introduced, go down the tubes so fast?
Economics…And TV Demand
The short answer is “People aren’t buying TVs the way they used to.” It’s easy to blame, say, the economy for that, but the reality is, demand for televisions is shifting. If you’ve got a laptop, and watch everything streaming… why do you need a TV? That, combined with the fact that people are, yes, tightening their belts, pretty much killed the demand for TVs; every television manufacturer, from Sony to Sharp, is currently trying to staunch the bleeding these divisions are causing.
Expect More Problems
Adding to the problems for plasma, LCD panels have become both much cheaper and much better, thanks in part to the hard work many manufacturers have put into the technology for cell phone screens. Plasma will still be around; even Panasonic admits that for professional uses, it’s the best panel technology. But if you’re a consumer, and you want a plasma TV, your options are going to be limited pretty quickly.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.