Pioneer is leaving the TV manufacturing business. Pioneer has been working hard to turn the ship around toward profitability. About 5900 employees were laid off from March 31, 2008 through the end of 2008. In the same period, Pioneer reduced the number of temporary employees by 4000. But even these measures weren’t good enough. The company’s factories based in the US and the UK will be shut down this year: UK factories will be closed in February and US factories in April. TV product development will cease as well. PDP (plasma display panel) production activities will cease in Japan by March 31, 2009. By March 2010 Pioneer plans to completely exit the display business. The good news is that Pioneer will continue service its TVs after completely exiting the display business.
Pioneer’s KURO plasma TVs have been hailed as one of the best TVs with insanely dark black levels, which are important when you want the best contrast. Even the best TVs from Sony and Panasonic fell just a bit short compared to the KURO. However, not all is lost. Panasonic has been downloading all KURO intelligence from Pioneer and I’m sure Sharp has benefited too. Hopefully Panasonic the KURO sub-brand will somehow continue to live along with the stunningly black technology.