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Panasonic halts plasma panel research, prices 2013 TV range

updated 09:53 am EDT, Thu April 11, 2013

Final panel created by Panasonic research and development teams

Panasonic has stopped development of plasma-based HD television panels, and is unlikely to start up research on the display technology again. Panasonic Display Vice President Kiyoshi Okamoto confirmed the closure of plasma research and development during an event where the company revealed the pricing for its line of HDTVs for 2013.

Okamoto told The Verge that the ZT60 will use the "last plasma panel" from Panasonic's R&D section, and that it and previously-created panels will continue to be sold in HDTVs produced by the company this year and in 2014. A number of engineers have been moved from plasma to OLED development, something the company is still working on. "OLED is one of the key future products" for Panasonic, said Okamoto.

Panasonic's most recent quarterly results for the end of 2012 saw the manufacturer make a profit of $667 million, a dramatic turnaround from the $7.5 billion lost in the previous quarter, and an improvement from the $2.1 billion lost in the same quarter in 2011. To build upon this, the company is looking at possibly downsizing its entire TV business, after reports placed estimates for 2015 to 2016 television sales at half the levels of the 2009 to 2010 period.

As for the present, Panasonic has set prices for its previously-revealed 2013 range of HDTVs. The VT60 series, in 55, 60, and 65-inch models, will cost $2,600, $300, and $3,600 respectively, according to Engadget. Most models sit in the $1,000 to $3,000 range and are either available now, or will be available later this month. The only exception is the ZT60, with both the 60-inch and 65-inch versions not issued a price as of yet, but will be available in June.

by MacNN Staff



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