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Panasonic Leaves U.S. TV Market But Eyes Return

After scaling back its U.S. TV presence in 2014, Panasonic pulled out completely early this year but is studying a comeback, a spokesperson confirmed.

Early this year, the company sold off the last of its TV inventory for the U.S. market but continues to sell TVs in Canada.

The company, which has been increasing its focus on B-to-B sales, dropped TVs shortly after launching a value line of 4K TVs late last year for sale on it website and through ABC Warehouse, BrandsMart USA, Curacao, Electronic Express, RC Willey and Video Only.

The U.S. exit also followed the introduction of 4K UHD TVs at CES 2016, including a 4K OLED model.

The company, however, still plans to offer a 4K Blu-ray player this year in the U.S. Details haven’t been disclosed.

Retailers did receive the 4K value line for sale in the November through the Super Bowl time frame, and a few pieces are still available at retail, one retailer said.

In Canada, Panasonic plans to offer a 4K LED LCD TV with 512 backlit-diming zones, HDR, and ability to deliver more than 1,000 nits of brightness over 100 percent of the screen 100 percent of the time, said Barry Murray, Panasonic’s A/V marketing group director in Canada. Other HDR TVs deliver 1,000 nits, he noted, but only over 10 to 20 percent of their displays at a time and only for about 14 seconds in duration.

He also said Panasonic is considering OLED TVs for Canadian sales. Panasonic offers OLED TVs in select other countries.