Pioneer ultra-thin and infinite contrast tech uncertain after Panasonic deal

By Chris Nicholls

MELBOURNE: Pioneer Australia has said it cannot confirm the future of their ultra thin and infinite contrast technologies, following Friday’s announcement Pioneer Japan would outsource their plasma panels.

Speaking in a face to face interview with Current.com.au, Pioneer Australia managing director Yasuo Sakuma said the two proprietary technologies developed for the Project Kuro panels shown at CES, one for ultra-thin screens and the other for ‘infinite contrast’, were designed for manufacture by Pioneer, and therefore could not guarantee whether the technologies could be incorporated into Panasonic-sourced panels. 

“I have no idea [about the future of the technology] … but if Panasonic, they want to make their panels thinner, they may invest [in our technology], but this is already patented technology,” he said.

“At this moment, we developed the prototypes for our own production processes. And even our production processes required some investment to change the production equipment."

As a result, Sakuma said while he could not be certain, as matters were still being discussed in Japan, he was unsure whether Pioneer could "apply [the Pioneer technology] to Panasonic production equipment". 

However, while some may have concerns, Sakuma made it clear the overall ‘Project Kuro’ technology development direction would continue, regardless of the switch to Panasonic planels. Panasonic also announced they would make a 25mm thin television, and recent indications that suggest Panasonic will continue down the ‘ultra-thin’ path followed by the rest of the industry, which may also allay some worries.

Addendum: The original article may have implied all Project Kuro technology was in doubt following Pioneer’s plasma panel outsourcing agreement. The article has been ammended to clairfy this point. We apologise for any inconvenience.

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