Panasonic and Pioneer protect plasma’s position

By James Wells in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS: With hundreds of journalists ready to pen the latest developments from two of the largest Japanese brands in the consumer electronics industry, Pioneer and Panasonic spent most of their time protecting their position on plasma at this year’s CES.

Panasonic used the vast majority of a one hour press conference to conduct a one-on-one, interview-style approach with prepared questions to reinforce their message that plasma is the best choice to watch sports, is the best in high definition large screens and is lead-free and therefore environmentally friendly.

The half-life argument was also re-introduced with Panasonic explaining that with 60,000 hours of use before half brightness then it would take daily use of six hours over 27 years.

Panasonic will be building a fourth plasma plant in Japan that will provide 11.5 million panels per year capacity and said its vertically integrated business model was superior to some of its flat panel competitors.

Panasonic also disregarded burn-in as an issue that was linked to first generation products and said that while some people applaud LCD as it is a new technology, it has been around for almost half a century.

Pioneer general manager – product planning, Ken Shioda, claimed his company has created a new development in the flat screen market with new technology that offers deeper blacks and richer colours than ever before, surpassing LCD.

But other than the deep black room and the rich colours projected on to the powerpoint presentation, journalists were not offered a sample of the new product to view and were asked to visit the company’s stand at the CES exhibition later in the week.

Pioneer said they are “putting a stake in the ground as a high end plasma manufacturer” and warned that “not everyone will be able to walk out of a store with a Pioneer plasma” based on a philosophy that they “will not be the largest and not the cheapest plasma display, but the best plasma display”.

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