Pioneer Intros Last Plasma
Pioneer more formally bowed out of TVs today by launching four final Kuro models in Japan and setting out formal plans for its exit strategy. The external-tuner-equipped KRP-500A and KRP-600A as well as their all-in-one equivalents, the KRP-500M and KRP-600M, all produce 1080p images at 50 and 60 inches respectively. Although their contrast ratios aren't mentioned, they all have four HDMI inputs with support for deep color, support media from a USB port and have input over D4 (component) as well as VGA.
Pioneer to retain Kuro
Last week, a Pioneer Electronics USA executive talked about the company abandoning the TV market and said it is considering applying its high-end Kuro brand from the high-end discontinued TVs to other products in its range. Andy Parsons, the senior VP of the company's advanced product development and corporate communications, said the company had to give up on selling TVs due to the tough economy, despite plasma displays accounting for a quarter of the company's operating revenue.
Pioneer Exits TVs
Confirming rumors, Pioneer today said it would exit TVs altogether in a bid to recover its business from an approximately $1.44 billon loss in the past year. The move will see the company quickly shut down its Castleford, UK and Pomona, California factories that make TVs and eventually phase out TVs altogether by March 2010. The departure is directly pinned on the US economic crisis and its impact on demand for TVs.
VIZIO Backs Out of Plasma
VIZIO today said that it would phase out plasma TVs entirely. Speaking to the New York Times, company executive Laynie Newsome justifies the move by noting that LCDs sell much more quickly than plasma. The difference is attributed to the perceived quality in-store: although plasmas often have deeper blacks, the brighter store lights tend to favor the lower-contrast LCD sets. In exchange, VIZIO plans to improve the features of the LCDs themselves, which lately have gained the same 240Hz and LED backlights as on high-end rivals.
Pioneer May Exit TVs
Japan's Nikkei paper today warned (subscription required) that Pioneer is likely to exit the TV business. While the company has already said it would end plasma production and enter into LCDs, the new report has the electronics giant ending its TV efforts entirely and entering into a joint venture with Sharp for its DVD movie player business. Pioneer has been suffering losses despite the critical success of its Kuro plasma TVs and is also at least indirectly threatened by the current world economic crisis.
Pioneer at CEDIA 2008
Pioneer's efforts at the CEDIA show were unveiled today and focused on updates to its Elite Blu-ray and plasma lines. The releases are led by an addition to its Elite Blu-ray players of the BDP-09FD, its new top-end reader. The device is claimed as a first in the category and adds a new 16-bit imaging engine that it says improves video decoding, particularly for upscaling; most high-end readers still use 14-bit hardware. It also stands as Pioneer's first Blu-ray Profile 2.0 player with the option of Internet features as well as upgrading the player's firmware online.
Pioneer 46-inch LCDs Soon
Pioneer is likely to release mid-size LCD TVs, the company said late yesterday when discussing its latest financial results. Breaking with its tradition of selling plasma TVs almost exclusively, the Japanese electronics maker says it will start offering LCDs larger than 40 inches starting from August. This will most likely include a 46-inch set, the company adds. Sharp is producing the actual display panels while Pioneer handles much of the design.
Pioneer KURO 2008
Pioneer this morning overhauled its KURO and Signature Series lines of plasma HDTVs as well as introducing a new 1080p projector. While not going into specifics, the Elite line now has better contrast ratios to produce deeper black levels as well as improved colors; the new models are also much more customizable and also pack an Optimum mode that automatically checks both the environment and the content itself to adjust both the image and audio quality on the fly, saving viewers from having to make manual adjustments at different times of the day or as they switch channels or movies.
Pioneer HD KURO projector
At the High End trade show today in Munich, Pioneer announced its return to the projector market with the KURO KRF-9000FD home theater projector. The Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) KRF-9000FD is capable of displaying 1920x1080 pixel progressive video at sizes up to 14.5 by just over 8 feet. This translates to a TV screen size of 200 inches, with the minimum projected image equivalent to a 60-inch TV screen. A 2x motorized zoom lens allows a large image to be displayed in smaller rooms. The contrast ratio, at 30,000:1, is one of the best in the industry.
Pioneer Kuro concept HDTVs
Pioneer's contribution to CES 2008 is headlined by new technologies that will form the basis of its KURO plasma HDTVs for the near future. Nicknamed the Extreme Contrast Concept, the first technology is the only flat-panel set known to have a theoretically infinite contrast ratio: unlike any other LCD or plasma, the ECC can completely shut off lighting to parts of the screen. This provides an absolute black where virtually every other set can only reach dark grays, Pioneer claims.