Chadnliz, very interesting information. Thanks!
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Interesting . . . thanks for the post. I do think that while Pioneer seems like a huge company compared to many in the specialty audio business . . . they're still a chump-change company in the OEM parts manufacturing business. And Matsushita isn't simply a big player, they're THE big player.
I think that this being "the beginning of the end" for television plasma displays is WAY premature. The flat-panel television market is far from mature, and I'm guessing the Pioneer has to juggle its consumer-sales profits very carefully with its OEM business, and since the consumer products have to be highly price-competitive right now, it makes sense that they'd dump the OEM parts-profit equation onto a company that has deep enough pockets to play the acronym battle with Sharp.
Also, Pioneer's manufacturing facilities aren't necessarily simply going to disappear . . . the bean-counters will most likely work their magic to make them part of some other entity, and all of those legacy R&D, development, and buildout/tooling costs will escape handily into the luminiferous ether.
I consider Sony the vanguard.This was quite true in the grand old days when founder Akio Morita was still running the company, esp. the Trinitron tube with its slotted shadow mask. But quite unfortunately those days are long gone, and it's wise to consider each Sony product individually on its own merits. There's still some great stuff, but there's plenty of crap mixed in.
Sony never sold a plasma screen???? huh? I've seen a ton of Sony plasmas. And I'm pretty sure they weren't all received free of charge . . .
i have a pioneer pdp5050. it STILL has the best picture out of all that i've seen. all my freinds and family concur, even though they have newer technology high end panels. they had a good product. hopefully they won't lose their "magic". btw i also have a panasonic plasma, not even close, nor is the sharp aquos hd lcd.
When my wife and I were shopping for our fist flat-screen TV recently, she pointed up to one unit and said, "I like that one... a lot." Over the years, I've come to know that if there's a top-of-the-line anything, she could spot it with three out of five of her senses disabled.
So, we now own a Pioneer Kuro and are lovin' every minute of it. It really is an outstanding set, with PQ that is clearly superior to anything out there.
I suppose the neat part is that we now have a collector's item!
What is your impression between the Sony XBR Wega and the new Pioneer Elite Kuro?
On the matter of Pioneer getting Mats/Panay to manufacture the panels, this isn't a surprise. Many manufactures outsource major components of their products when it becomes to expensive to manufacture/research and compete. Most automobile/motorcycle/electronics/etc use other companies components. They still put out products that are unique and are unlike their competitors. I would imagine the final assembly and or calibration will still be done by Pioneer along with their signature electronics, i.e. PureCinema.
Now this is only my 2 cents, and I hope Pio still puts out a quality product rather than rebranding a Panay set with their name like some other companies do with other electronics. Only time will tell...
Chadnliz... I looked at the Videogon ads right after Pioneer's announcement and within a week one of the dealers dropped the price for the 50" by $800. I've been watching these at Best Buy and Circuit City... and about three weeks ago I found that two Circuit City stores were discounting their 40" in-store display units (open box specials) by almost 50%. Maybe it was time to move them, but it seemed odd to me... until I read Pioneer's announcement.
This is what I got from one of the salesperson's email response:
Sorry I didn't reply to this Wade, but no Plasma is not dead it will continue to be the performance choice for HDTV's. No the prices aren't dropping. The new models will arrive this summer. Please see below the email I received today from the President of Pioneer.
Dear valued Pioneer Business Partners,
I am sure by now you have seen the announcement that was sent from Pioneer this morning. I hope it addresses the misinformation and speculation that surfaced earlier this week.
Pioneer remains passionate to delivering the ultimate home theater experience based on the brand strategy the company set nearly a year ago, to bring to market the best home theater technology, including high-definition plasma televisions like KURO.
As you know, we are coming off of a tremendous year during which Pioneer caused the first major shift in the HDTV market by breaking away from a price-driven, commoditized market. The KURO brand caused this shift - surpassing all competitors with its award-winning flat panel technology. We all worked to develop and reposition the brand over the past two years, our advertising, product mix and distribution strategy to match a premium brand/market strategy. After making these significant changes, it is only natural that we now need to align our fixed cost business strategy in an effort to right-size the business. Todays announcement is part of that alignment process and supports our goal of being the leading display company delivering optimum performance standards in technology.
To do this, Pioneer will continue to focus on what it does best which includes engineering game-changing plasma technology and producing proprietary components that differentiate Pioneer plasma televisions from the rest of the market. The next generation KURO flat panel televisions will be coming this summer as planned with no disruption in Pioneer production.
This announcement will not affect Pioneers technology leadership in home entertainment but provides Pioneer the opportunity to further invest in bringing high-definition display innovations to life.
As you are aware, outsourcing is common practice among successful consumer electronics companies all over the world. Many of the most notable and respected brands of televisions, cell phones and video game consoles do not manufacture their own products. Pioneer plans to outsource production of plasma panel modules in 2009 in an effort to right-size the business.
Pioneer is developing plans with a production partner that offers the best quality and reliability in line with its own strategy and high standards, but at this point no partnership arrangements or decisions have been made.
In addition, the Mobile Business Group within Pioneer has been a consistently profitable business and has always been run as a separate division. This announcement will have no effect on this group.
We plan to leverage the engineering capabilities to compensate for any cutbacks in the plasma display business by shifting related personnel and other business resources to the Car Electronics business; the professional sound & visual (Pro SV) business, which involves DJ equipment; and the audio/video product business, including Blu-ray Disc related products.
I am confident that this announcement will enable the company to profitably bring high-definition display innovations to the customers living room, home cinema and all of the corners of our life where we cant live without HD.
Home Entertainment & Business Solution Division
Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc.
Custom Sales & Design
hmm, Isn't this interesting now?
I read this as there is a money making problem in their current business model and are emphasizing other more profitable areas of the company like car audio and car electronics. ( the car audio/electronics market is HUGELY profitable for sure)
In 2002 Fujitsu was the best at plasmas. Then they outsourced their panels and continued making plasmas and trying to charge very hard prices. Now Fujitsu is gone from the plasma world. Pioneers excellent plasmas hastened their exit to be sure, as did Panasonics global market share and strength. Fujitsu just didnt make sense.
If you were at CES and saw what was coming with plasmas from Panasonic the writing is on the wall.
Pioneer simply has to move to a lower cost production model in order to continue to make plasmas. They need a deal with Panasonic and Panasonic is probably weighing on the pros and cons at this point. If Pioneer has to go to Samsung for glass its basically over for Pioneer.
They made this decision before having a glass source. Lets all keep this in mind. Thats more of a panic move than a calm foresightful one.
The "double negitive reverse" is a sales technique that salespeople use, and that's exactly what I got last weekend while I was cruising thru a showroom. The salesperson came up and said... If you're thinking about a Pioneer... now's the time to buy because Pioneer is going to stop producing thier own screens soon... and once these "with the really great screens" are gone... you'll be getting something different. I took that to mean the dealers won't be offering deep discounts to move their inventory of current Pioneers.