Panasonic is throwing in the towel on plasma TVs.
The electronics giant announced on Thursday that it will stop manufacturing plasma TV panels as of December. Production of the panels has ended completely at one factory and is currently stalled at a second factory. Business operations at these two factories and at a third factory will conclude by the end of March 2014.
Panasonic also said it will stop selling plasma TVs to consumers by next March, which will mark the close of its current fiscal year.
In its decision, the company cited the weakening demand for plasma displays in a market dominated by LCD panels:
Until now, due to the superiority of the picture, Panasonic's PDPs (plasma display panels) have received high appraisal and there has been firm demand from customers worldwide. However, due to rapid, drastic changes in the business environment and a declining demand for PDP in the flat panel display market, it was judged that continuing the business would be difficult and a decision was made to stop production.
Panasonic added that it will develop new products for the display market. At last January's Consumer Electronics Show, the company unveiled its first OLED TV prototype and is currently eyeing mass production of OLED TVs.
Reports that Panasonic would exit the plasma display business surfaced earlier this month in a story by Reuters and as far back as last March in a story from Japan-based newspaper Nikkei. Sales of flat-panel TVs have continued to wane, but plasma TVs have been hit harder than their LCD counterparts. In 2012, plasma TV shipments fell by 23 percent from the prior year, compared with LCD shipments, which dropped by just 1 percent, according to NPD.