As we were happily enjoying a hot cup of morning coffee, a press release from Pioneer landed on our virtual desk. In it, Pioneer announced that the ink was drying on its plasma panel agreement with Matsushita, best known for Panasonic branded goods.
We knew that a deal to outsource Pioneer's plasma panels to another manufacturer was imminent. We assumed that it would indeed be done with Panasonic; it's the company that has recently dazzled us as a plasma display manufacturer, and the Intertubes were a-buzz with such rumours.
Is this good news? We think so. Panasonic has increasingly proved itself to bein the production of plasma TVs. Indeed, some of its low-end plasmas have been blowing our socks off recently. Pioneer will still be dealing with the electronics side of TV production, so its expertise will surely be an important factor in the quality of the TVs it produces.
This also means Pioneer will keeping thename. We can only assume that it believes its TVs will now be blacker than a dirty lump of coal stored in a dark corner of room with no functioning lights, while being dragged into a black hole.
With luck, this news could pave the way for Pioneer to sell its much-loved TVs for a price that better suits the pockets of the average purchaser. The Pioneer-Panasonic plasma mash-ups will be available in 2009. We raise our mugs of cold coffee to that. -Ian Morris