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Panasonic abandoning plasma TV production by March 2014

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Panasonic will stop producing and selling plasma TVs by March 2014, according to a recent report.

The Japanese manufacturer has been the leading provider of plasma TV sets for many years, but has been tipped to join its rivals in abandoning the unprofitable technology for some time now.

Back in March it was reported that Panasonic had stopped development on its next generation of plasma displays, and would likely end plasma panel production altogether in 2014.

Now, according to Reuters, that move will become a reality as of March next year, following a £9 billion net loss over the past two financial years for the manufacturer. Its TV business alone posted an operating loss of £565.5 million in the last financial year.

Panasonic will close its one remaining plasma panel-producing factory situated in the west of Japan after plasma TVs accounted for just 6 percent of TV shipments last year.

With the rise of Korea's Samsung and LG in the TV market, traditional Japanese TV manufacturers such as Sony, Sharp and Panasonic has had a tough time of it of late. These companies hold less than a 20 percent share of the global TV market combined, while Samsung alone has almost 28 percent.

Last year, Panasonic president Kazuhiro Tsuga committed to removing all low-margin elements of the business by 2015, so the plasma TV division was always on borrowed time. Still, the speed and suddenness of this move has been a surprise to many.

This will be seen as bad news among home cinema fanatics, as plasma technology remains one of the best solutions for producing deep blacks and for handling fast motion in movies.

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