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No RIPs For Panasonic Plasma Yet

Excuse us if we don’t panic over a news report out of Japan earlier this week that the industry’s leading champion of plasma TV technology, Panasonic, is allegedly ready to pull the plug and discontinue a technology that many perceive as still producing the best picture in the business, and certainly the best value.

Why, you may ask, the hesitancy to report this big news? The source of the story listed no attribution for “the rumor,” and reports on rumors about Panasonic’s imminent plans to kill off its former-bread-and-butter technology have circulated for almost a year.

This is getting more traction than the imminent debut of the Apple TV.

On top of that, Panasonic issued a statement shortly after what seemed like every tech blog on the web picked it up and started putting its own death-spiraling spin to it.

“The media report is not on any official announcements by Panasonic. Though the company has been studying various plans for the strategy of the businesses, nothing has been decided,” Panasonic’s statement read.

Yes, plasma numbers have languished as LED LCD TVs have gotten larger and less expensive. But Panasonic’s new ZT60-series models introduced at International CES in January offered some of the best pictures seen since Pioneer’s ill-fated Kuro models got the yank.

Similarly, Samsung’s new top-end 8500-series models also yielded incredibly promising picture quality demonstrations at their line send-off on Wednesday. And plasma models routinely win big-screen picture quality shootouts year after year.

Ultimately, LCD and OLED may, indeed, send plasma to that great recycling plant in the sky, but we’re going to wait until Panasonic makes such a declaration official before we start throwing any more dirt on the grave of such a vibrant technology.

Hey Panasonic: There’s still room for growth in them thar hills.