TV Manufacturers Cease Plasma Production

Dennis Faas's picture

Are you a big fan of the plasma flatscreen television? It might be harder to get your sticky hands on one in the future, with recent announcements that two of the most popular plasma TV manufacturers have decided to terminate production.

Although the plasma market has been struggling for some time, it's hard to ignore the role played by a stagnant U.S. economy in driving down interest in tech products.

The most stunning news came earlier in the week when technology giant Pioneer announced it would bow out of the television business altogether. To the average consumer who has in the past outfitted their home theatre and car stereo with Pioneer TVs, subwoofers, and CD players, it's stunning to think that there's no longer any room in the market for such a traditionally successful company.

However, analysts who've been keeping a close eye on Pioneer's place within the TV market are anything but surprised. "The brand was not doing well and was not gaining traction with consumers despite their superior quality, mainly because of their higher prices," remarked Riddhi Patel, an analyst with iSpuppli TV systems.

Big prices, big problems for Pioneer

Plasma televisions are often more expensive than their LCD brethren, and for a company with a recognizable name like Pioneer, the obligatory brand premium (Sony and Apple are no exceptions) became a sort-of handicap. "They weren't selling an overwhelming amount of plasma -- period," said market researcher Tamaryn Pratt. (Source:

Pioneer isn't the only company suffering from slackening interest in plasma TVs. Newer, cheaper, but recognizable Vizio recently revealed that it too will duck out of a market currently being pounded by LCD, or Liquid Crystal Display televisions.

Patel believes the moves are all about cost. "In the U.S. market, our consumer research findings show that consumers even in the highest income bracket are fairly price conscious." 

That being said, not even LCDs are doing particularly well right now. Sales dipped two per cent in the last quarter of 2008, and insiders warn that the situation isn't likely to improve in 2009.

Surprisingly, plasma sales actually exploded over the last quarter of 2008, up a staggering 28 per cent. Still, demand has never really matched LCD and it seems both Pioneer and #3 plasma manufacturer Vizio finally recognized the consumer trend. (Source:

With those two out of the market, only Samsung, Panasonic, and LG Electronics continue to sell plasma televisions. Vizio plans to concentrate on LCD technology while Pioneer will shift more of its resources towards the (slowly) burgeoning Blu-ray market.

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