Pioneer and Panasonic Merge Plasma Panel Production

Fans of Pioneer's high-end Kuro line of plasma HDTVs have been aware for some time of the company's plans to outsource panel production to Panasonic.

It appears the final details of the deal are now being determined between the two companies. A merger between Panasonic parent Matsuhita's plasma business and Pioneer's plasma business will happen next year, and their research and production teams will combine into one unit, according to MarketWatch.

That merger is expected to be officially announced later this week.

Pioneer will stop making plasma panels by next year, and will use Matsushita's plasma panels for TVs 42-inches and bigger, according to Jappan's Nikkei newspaper, which also noted that Matsushita plans to use some of Pioneer's technology in its panels. But don't forget what Pioneer executive vice president Russ Johnston told Sound & Vision: "You're going to hear from everybody on the Matsushita side, 'We can make a Kuro panel.' They may learn some things on one of the core elements of the panel, but they're not going to have the others.'" -Rachel Rosmarin