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Panasonic may part ways with plasma TVs to save self

The company is reportedly considering whether it should withdraw from the plasma business as it draws down its reliance on televisions.

Panasonic's PST-50 plasma.
Panasonic's PST-50 plasma.
CBS Interactive

Although Panasonic plasmas are widely considered some of the best on the market, the company might actually be thinking about getting out of that business.

Panasonic is currently contemplating whether it should leave the plasma business behind, Japan-based newspaper Nikkei reported today, according to Reuters. The move would be part of a broader strategy on Panasonic's part to reduce its reliance upon televisions and fix its ailing operation.

In a statement to Reuters, Panasonic didn't rule out the move, saying that it's "considering a number of options" for its TV business, but so far, "nothing has been decided."

If Panasonic decides to get out of the plasma business, consumers could be the losers. In CNET Reviews' listing of the top plasmas on the market, Panasonic holds four of the top five spots. The company's TC-PST50, in fact, received four-and-a-half stars out of five for its great picture quality and overall value.

The problem is, Panasonic is in some serious financial trouble. Plasma televisions are not selling nearly as well as LCDs, and the company itself is losing billions of dollars. In November, Panasonic announced it would cut 10,000 jobs by the end of March, just months after it laid off 36,000 employees in the previous fiscal year. Cutting its television operation could save it some much-needed cash and allow it to focus on other industries.

CNET has contacted Panasonic for comment on the report. We will update this story when we have more information.