Friday, September 19, 2008

Hitachi scales back plasma production, partners with Matsushita

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Hitachi Ltd (6501.T) said it will shrink production of plasma panels and buy them from Matsushita Electric Industrial Co (6752.T) in a bid to cut losses on its flat TVs in a market dominated by rival LCD technology. The world's No. 4 plasma TV maker will buy fabricated glass panels -- the high-end part of aplasma TV -- from Matsushita in a step that some analysts say could be part of a slowwithdrawal from the business.

Sad news for fans of Hitachi's video business, but a sobering glass of reality in the face of a tough, tough marketplace.

Hitachi has always made top notch panels, but have never really scored much in the way of market presence. Certainly, the general lack of new product at CEDIA Expo hinted that they planned on scaling back their efforts.

On the bright side, Matsushita's panels are also first rate, so I expect the quality of their offerings to remain high, and I expect the partnership to benefit both companies.

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