Panasonic tech to replace Pioneer’s in future Kuro TVs

By Chris Nicholls

SYDNEY: Panasonic has revealed it intends replace Pioneer technology in future Kuro plasma televisions by developing technology to match or beat Pioneer’s for image quality and thinness.

The comments were made by visiting Panasonic visual products and display devices business group senior vice president and director, Masaaki Fujita, who told that with both companies’ plasma technologies “mostly similar”, and Panasonic hoping to match or beat its partner for image quality soon, it expected Pioneer would agree to use Panasonic technology, not its own.

“Panasonic’s technology and Pioneer’s technology are mostly similar,” he said. “Panasonic has 30,000:1 contrast, and Pioneer’s contrast is 30,000:1 and, while it’s not native, the dynamic contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 [of our televisions] is the same [as Pioneer].

Fujita said the only main point of difference between the two companies’ technology was the system to allow individual pixel control, which Pioneer led in, but which he said Panasonic was also developing.

When that technology was complete, Fujita said, the companies’ technologies would be almost identical and “Panasonic would be able to match Kuro technology and should be able to get Pioneer to use our technology.”

The statement appears to fly in the face of recent Pioneer comments from Japan that “Pioneer’s proprietary technologies will be adopted by Matsushita as part of the process of supplying plasma display panels to Pioneer.”

Pioneer Australia chief executive Yasuo Sakuma told in mid-March that panel technology remained an “uncertain area” of the Panasonic joint venture, due to Pioneer engineers’ unfamiliarity with Panasonic’s panels at the time, but said regardless of panel issues, the back-end technology would remain Pioneer’s.

“Our engineers are very passionate, and very confident that even though we will use a third-party panel, we will utilise our technology and always stay two or three steps ahead of the competition,” he said.

Fans of Pioneer’s image quality prowess need not despair, though, as Fujita said Panasonic’s new ultra-thin prototype Neo PDP panel would be used in future Pioneer televisions and would beat current Kuro image quality levels.

“What we’re aiming for is a level above that of the Neo PDP, which will surpass Kuro [image quality],” he said.

Pioneer Australia product planning manager, Tony Trent, said he had no new information on the two companies’ joint venture other than from the recent Japanese release, but said Pioneer remained committed to "delivering the world’s best flat screen TV to Australian consumers – be that now or into the future."

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