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Panasonic’s plasma woes

by David Mercer | 7月 26, 2007

Matsushita (owner of the Panasonic brand) reported quarterly results yesterday that nicely reflect the shifting sands of the flat panel TV market. Matsushita was one of the first of the Japanese majors to place its bet on plasma technology, and although it concedes some ground to LCD by selling smaller screen TVs using LCD, it is firmly committed to plasma in larger displays. Yesterday's results suggest that it is LCD that is holding up the division, not plasma. LCD sales rose 40% to 740,000 units, closing in on the 800,000 plasmas sold over the same period. But its the revenue picture that tells the real story: plasma income fell 1%, its first ever decline, to $1072m, while LCD rose 9% to $475m. Panasonic's mid-term strategy is still heavily focused on plasma, as we reported recently. The company is far too optimistic about future plasma sales, according to our analysis, but it should meet targets by achieving a higher share than it expects. That's because it is likely to be one of only a couple of major companies selling the technology in a few years' time. The question the company must ask is whether it is losing out on potential sales by remaining wedded to a particular display technology. I probably get more questions from general consumers on "which is better - LCD or plasma?" than any other device issue right now. And frankly, my response is usually, plasma, if you can afford it (including the extra power consumption) and you want 40" or more. Because the best plasmas, from Panasonic and Pioneer, offer unparalleled quality with the right set-up. But they do risk falling behind in the Full HD (1080p) race, and they struggle to compete on price with LCD. If anyone is left holding the plasma baby in 2010, it is likely to be those two companies. Add to Technorati Favorites
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