Panasonic’s move to streamline operations is not surprising in the face of steadily declining plasma-TV sales worldwide. “In the great scheme of things, it’s not that big of an impact,” says Paul Gagnon, Director of Global TV Research for NPD DisplaySearch. Gagnon believes the closure is more a reflection of market conditions than a game changer for plasma.
However, as has been the case for years, reports of plasma’s demise are premature. Panasonic showed 16 new plasma TVs at CES 2013. The Shanghai plant that closed was assembling TVs rather than making the panels, says Gagnon, noting that Panasonic continues to manufacture PDPs in Japan. Panasonic is not actually the biggest producer of plasma TVs; that honor goes to Samsung, according to Gagnon. These two companies, plus LG, are the last manufacturers of plasma TVs in the world.