Only a basic agreement apparently, but it's a welcome step towards the proliferation of cheap, decent quality plasma TVs.
I don’t know about you but when I heard that Pioneer was ceasing plasma display production I was worried. That the legendary Kuro range would see no successors was a daunting proposition – even if I, like most, can’t actually afford one. Luckily the reports of the Kuro’s demise were greatly exaggerated because Pioneer isn’t ceasing making TVs, and instead will be outsourcing panel production to Panasonic, as affirmed today by the two companies.
According to Pioneer the agreement covers mostly R&D as well as production and supply of plasma modules. From what can be gathered at this early stage of the negotiations, both Pioneer’s Kuro and Panasonic’s Viera Plasma sets will benefit from the collaboration, fusing the technology from both into one platform.
There is of course a great deal more to a television that just the panel, though, and Pioneer is still keen to emphasise this. Kuro is going to remain the premium brand with superior image processing, and a suitable mark-up of as well.
The final agreement will be in May under undisclosed terms. Production isn’t expected to start until May 2009, so we will probably be waiting until Christmas that year before we can all bask in front of any products benefiting from the collaboration. Hopefully for plasma’s sake we aren’t all converted to OLED TVs by then.
Pioneer press release.