Rumor: Pioneer Cutting TV Division?

Jan 29, 2009
February 9, 2009 - Times are tough for the tech industry; manufacturers are losing money hand over fist, jobs are getting cut, and retailers are shutting down. All across the board people are feeling the crunch, but no area of the consumer electronics industry has been hit harder than the high-end HDTV market. While low-end and mid-range models have either maintained sales or experienced slight growth, big-ticket TVs have been glued to store shelves, collecting dust. To combat the recent lull in sales many display manufacturers are making deep cuts in production costs to prevent critical losses, and it seems Pioneer might be gearing up to do the same.

According to a report published by Japan's Nikkei Net Interactive, Pioneer is considering shutting down its flat-panel television operations, which includes their world-renowned Kuro and outsourcing panel production to Panasonic. Kuro and Kuro Elite panels produced by Panasonic were expected to arrive on store shelves this year. Alongside the announcement that they would be outsourcing plasma production to Panasonic last spring, Pioneer also announced that they would be partnering up with Sharp to produce a series of Kuro LCD displays.

Although Pioneer announced their plans to drastically reshape their flat-panel display operations almost a year ago, CES 2009 showed absolutely no new developments. Although the company had a broad range of their other consumer products on display, no new Kuro or Kuro Elite plasma models were introduced nor was there any evidence of a pending LCD line. As a show established for the purpose of showing off new, upcoming, and prototype products, Pioneer's lack of new display offerings at CES speaks volumes.

All speculation aside, no formal announcement has come out from Pioneer as of press time. We contacted Pioneer representatives for comment and were issued the following response:

As a matter of policy, we cannot comment on rumors or speculation. As you know, we have publicly announced that we are actively evaluating our business. We started announcing changes in March, 2008 to increase efficiencies of our business operations. We are still in that process but do not have any further announcements at this time.

More is expected to be revealed this Thursday as Pioneer announces it Q3 results.