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May 12, 2008

Rumor: Pioneer Slashing 2000 Jobs To Save Plasma Biz

pioneer_logo.jpgPioneer may make the best plasma TV's around, but with inefficiencies in the companies manufacturing process, they've had to outsource the KURO panels to Matsushita for production. Now a Nikkei newspaper is reporting that when Pioneer announcing its 2007 fiscal earnings (actually a predicted loss) in just a few hours time, they'll also announce that 2000 Pioneer employees will be out of a job. That's 5% of the company's total workforce, apparently deemed dispensable just so the company can get its plasma biz back on track.

The layoffs are rumored to occur over the next fiscal year ending March of 2009 and mainly include the companies 3 domestic plants. Some layoffs will be done through early retirement packages, but 200-odd plasma-related engineers and researchers will likely be headed for Matsushita. The company is also rumored to be considering job cuts in it home A/V department, and hopes to have its plasma biz back on track by 2010.

Via Earth Times

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May 11, 2008

Pioneer's PRO-101FD And PRO-141FD Plasma Monitors For Custom Install Market

5-7-08-pioneer-elite-kuro-pdp-1.jpgPioneer plans to add a couple of big screen plasma monitors to its KURO line come fall when the new Signature Series hits US shelves. Aimed at the high-end custom install market, the two new monitors--the PRO-101FD and PRO-141FD--are for those with fat wallets and premium home theater tastes. The Signature Series' specs are very similiar to the new KURO plasma TV's, but with a little more flexibility and control, enabling them to be tweaked perfectly to match the ambient and video lighting conditions. The 60-inch PRO-141FD will ship in August, price TBA, with a 2 year warranty, while the 50-inch PRO-101FD will ship a couple months later in October, price TBA with the same warranty.

Via Pioneer

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May 8, 2008

Pioneer's PDP-5020HD And PDP-6020HD Plasma TV's Feature 5 Times Deeper Blacks Than 2007 Models

pioneer-kuro-pdp-5020fd_front.jpgStill worried about the existence of Pioneer's KURO line after the company announced they were quitting the plasma biz? Remember they were only outsourcing panel production to Matsushita, and here's proof the KURO is alive and well. Yesterday Pioneer announced two new plasma KURO models, the 50-inch PDP-5020FD and the 60-inch PDP-6020FD. The company claims the new line has black levels 5 times deeper than their previous award-winning models from 2007, plus both feature 1080p resolution, six new sound settings specific to what you're watching, auto volume stabilization and SRS WOW HD technology that enhances mid to high frequency sound.

The new KURO's also display a little intelligence with the Optimum Mode, which monitors ambient lighting conditions and video sound, automatically adjusting the sets setting for optimum performance. It's a great feature for those who don't want to manually fiddle with six different sound settings and brightness controls. At only 3.7-inches thick, the 5020FD and 6020FD are 20% thinner than 2007's KURO lineup, and feature a new and improved user interface, Networked Media Home Gallery for multimedia playback from a PC or USB device, and both DLNA and Windows PlaysForSure compatibility.

Look for the new plasmas to hit shelves in June with the 5020FD setting you back $4000 and the 6020FD $5500.

Via Pioneer

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LG Electronics Takes Top Plasma Maker Honors In Q1

thumb_430_matsu2.jpgPanasonic will have to hold off on dominating the plasma biz for now. LG has taken over the global plasma market share lead with 34.8%, followed by Samsung with 30.5%. Panasonic fell all the way to the number three spot with a 27% market share. Not surprisingly, plasma panel shipments fell 19% from the holiday quarter, but are up 53% from last year's Q1 shipments. Why? One, 32-inch displays are being made like hotcakes. Two, demand is high for low-priced flat-panel plasmas given the supply woes of manufacturers of late. Three, Panasonic has started shipping 46-inch, 1080p panels. And fourth, the price of 42-inch plasma panels are US$114 cheaper than LCD panels of the same size. Prices are down as a whole 31% compared to 2007 Q1 and 6% since the holiday's, but its predicted that price decreases will level out by this year's 4th quarter.

Via Tech-On

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May 6, 2008

Panasonic Viera TH-42PX80 42-Inch Plasma TV Reviewed

7518-42px80buk1h.jpgPanasonic's Viera TH-42PX80 42-inch plasma TV is considered to be an absolute bargain dollar-wise, but feature-wise the Viera is definitely not a low-end model. Yes, it only features 720p resolution, but given it's a plasma with 15000:1 native contrast ratio, excellent color response and motion handling, don't read to far into the resolution number.

The real concern with the TH-42PX80 is whether performance had to be sacrificed in order to achieve such a low pricing level. Turns out that Panasonic has done an excellent job maintaining quality in this Viera, with natural looking black levels, subtle details in screen corners and sharpness impressive enough to see a single human hair. The V-Real 3 engine is Panasonic's proprietary technology behind the Viera's picture quality, and its success is proven further by the the sets ability to upscale standard-def images via the built-in digital tuner to 1368x720 pixels. And by upscaling, we mean better than the majority of the TH-42PX80's rival flat panel sets.

Any motion issues, such as slight judder, from previous models have been resolved and the picture remains smooth even from 1080p/24 sources. The only real concerns are the uninspired sheer black design and the HDMI input's incompatibility with Deep Color--pretty mild considering all of the TH-42PX80's pros. Ultimate verdict: best Panasonic plasma performance yet for the lowest price available.

The Panasonic Viera TH-42PX80 42-inch plasma TV is available from Amazon.

Via TrustedReviews

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May 3, 2008

Samsung PAVV Cannes 650 Series 50 And 58 Inch Plasma Models Hit South Korea

20080501125038310.jpgFirst there was the Samsung PAVV Cannes 450 and 550 series and now Samsung is rolling out the Samsung PAVV Cannes 650 series in 50- and 58-inch sizes. First hitting shelves in South Korea, the two new Cannes 650 models are the larger siblings of the previously released 40-, 46-, and 52-inch models. Featuring 1080p resolution, a whopping 1000000:1 contrast ratio powered by Cell Light Control, 2008 Ultra Daylight technology and a DNIe+(Digital Natural Image engine+) chipset, the new PAVV Cannes 650 models are priced at 3,000,000(KRW, US$2970) and 4,900,000(KRW, US$4851) for the 50-inch and 58-inch sets respectively.

Via Aving

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April 24, 2008

Rumor True: Matsushita And Pioneer Come To Plasma Panel Agreement, Viera's And Kuro's Will Use Identical Panels

pioneer_logo.jpgThe Matsushita-Pioneer plasma partnership rumor we told you about earlier this morning is apparently true. The two companies have announced a basic agreement, though a formal cementing of their relationship will indeed not happen until next month. The two companies did release a few tidbits though.

They'll be combining their R&D efforts to reduce the cost of manufacturing larger size plasma panels, so it won't be as simple as Pioneer simply buying panels from Matsushita. In fact, the panels produced will utilize Pioneer's Kuro technology and Panasonic's Neo PDP energy efficiency drive and be sold as both Kuro and Viera panels.

Don't expect the first Matsushita-made Pioneer Kuro's right away though. The first releases will hit shelves come fall of 2009.

Via The Register

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Matsushita Has Plans To Takeover The Plasma TV Market, Begin Producing OLED TV's

200px-National-Panasonic001.PNGOsakabe Akihiko, president of the plasma display wing in Panasonic's Shanghai branch, says the company plans to dominate the plasma TV market this year reaching for a 60% market share. The company is apparently quite comfortable with their prospects, investing 300 billion yen in a new LCD panel plant for IPS Alpha Technology, giving Matsushita a 50% share in the company and a goal of a 10% LCD market share by the end of the year. Perhaps the best news from Matsushita is their plans to begin OLED TV production sometime in the near future.

Via Digitimes

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Rumor: Pioneer Reached Plasma Panel Production Agreement With Matsushita

10090504.jpgOn Tuesday, Forbe's reported that Pioneer and Matsushita have yet to agree on the details of Pioneer's planned outsourcing of its plasma panel production. Back in March, Pioneer decided to quit producing plasma panels in-house sparking fears that the legendary Kuro series of high-end Pioneer plasma was done, but Pioneer later stated that they were only reorganizing their supply chain to reduce manufacturing costs. Basically, Pioneer plans to continue manufacturing the majority of the Kuro hardware in-house, but outsourcing plasma panel production so the company can begin mass producing LCD panels.

A Japanese newspaper published an unconfirmed report earlier this week that Pioneer plans to transfer 200 of their plasma engineers to Matsushita, and that a press conference would be called today or tomorrow announcing details of the agreement the companies reached. The company declined to comment, but did say they had no plans for a press conference this week and not to expect an announcement until at least mid-May.

Now, we have an unconfirmed rumor from a Japanese source that the two companies have reached a basic agreement that'll determine how Pioneer plans to incorporate Matsushita into their plasma panel supply chain. The details of the basic agreement we're not sure of at this point and we're still waiting on confirmation that the rumor is true, but we'll let you know what we find out later on.

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

April 22, 2008

LG Xcanvas BoBos Plasma HDTV's Headed For Korean Shelves

20080422004139170.jpgLG Electronics new Xcanvas BoBos line headed for Korea looks pretty impressive. The 1080p plasma line will feature 3 displays: the 42-inch 42PG61RD, the 50-inch 50PG61RD, and the 60-inch 60PG70FHD. Supporting LG's proprietary Smart Time Function, the Xcanvas BoBos feature frameless panels and an invisible speaker system. No word on pricing yet, but don't worry about it anyway, like LG's Xcanvas Scarlett series, we won't see the BoBos in the US anytime soon.

Via Aving

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