KURO is dead! A sad day for AV Fans….

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs Forum' started by Phil Hinton, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. Phil Hinton

    Phil Hinton
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    ***Updated with Pioneer UK comments in post****

    Pioneer has announced today, Thursday 12th February 2009, that it will be pulling out of the Consumer display market by March 2010.

    This is indeed sad news and follows on from the demise of Fujitsu not so long ago in the quality Plasma market. So where does that leave AV fans when it comes to sourcing a quality broadcast standard TV?

    The rumours have been travelling around the industry for some time now that Pioneer where struggling to make KURO profitable, even though in most enthusiasts opinions they were the pinnacle of flat panel displays. So, to have the eventual announcement today that KURO is now dead, was perhaps expected, but no less of a shock.

    It seems that the nail in KURO's coffin was the financial market melt down in Q4 and the steady rise in value of the Japanese Yen. These effects have obviously made a bad situation for Pioneer even worse and signalled the end for the display division. Of course as well as the bad news for AV fans, we have to feel sorry for the thousands of employees who will likely lose their jobs on the back of these cuts.

    In terms of the TV market in the UK many of us have been warning for a while that the stack ‘em high sell them cheap LCD mentality, and a general lack of education in the mass market would see quality and innovation suffer. This was probably not helped by off balanced press looking for bargains instead of actual quality, feeding to the public as a whole that ‘flat panels are all the same'. For AV enthusiasts this was never the case, but the loss of Fujitsu and now Pioneer has left many scratching their heads and wondering exactly where that quality is going to come from now.

    In terms of where Pioneer go now, their press release (which you can read below) states that Audio products, TV set top boxes and car entertainment is where they will focus their efforts. It's unclear what will happen to their optical disc business at the moment but a partnership deal has been suggested.

    So it's a sad day and, for a short time, KURO will remain the best TV on the market. It's now a case of ‘wait and see' in terms of display technology. Can LED get to where Kuro left off? Or will one of the few remaining Plasma manufacturers (Panasonic, Samsung, LG) step up to producing screens that can match what we are about to lose? Or will they buy the license to use the Pioneer technology? It will be interesting to see where these events take us.

    They said 2009 was going to be a hard year and we know that Pioneer won't be the last manufacturer to pull out of the display market. With money getting tight and many Japanese companies having to raise prices by as much as 30% because of the Yen, we may have a very different looking AV market this time next year!

    **Update**
    I have just finished a 15 minute conversation with Jim Catcheside, Product manager at Pioneer GB and have asked for clarification on a few points.

    First of all this announcement only affects Plasma, LCD and front projection technology. The AV Business which includes; Audio and audio-visual amps, Receivers, integrated systems, speakers and BD Players are not affected by today's announcement.


    “"Phil, first of all, lets put this in context: Plasma was only 14% of our overall global business at Pioneer and although this is a sad announcement, for all our KURO fans (including me), Pioneer have had no other choice than make this decision, particularly within the current global economic climate. Plasma has only been a part of our history for the last twelve years and in consumer TV terms only the last eight or nine. We were first and foremost founded as an Audio brand (speaker manufacturer) in 1937 and it's with this pedigree and heritage that we will be continuing with our other AV products, as well as other areas of the company such as car audio and navigation,” said Catcheside, adding "As stated in our companies announcement, we will continue to sell our current 9th Generation KURO TVs and withdraw from the global display business by March 2010."

    Although Jim couldn't comment on exactly when the existing production lines will stop producing the current models, I know from previous dealings within the industry that manufacturers tend to be about 2-3 months ahead in terms of production. This, I would speculate means that there should be production of the current lines until at least December this year.

    Jim added, “Whilst I cannot comment on specific production quantities, the existing G9 models were not due to be replaced until very late in 2009, therefore customers who still want to purchase the best TV in the world can still buy a KURO (whilst our stocks last). Warranty, after sales, both hard and software support including spare parts will continue to be fully supported by Pioneer. Equally, (for the time being) it's business as usual with the full line up of KURO TV's and selected AV products being shown and demonstrated at the Bristol show next week”.

    So there you have it, some clarification from this morning's announcement and to summarise;

    The announcement only affects KURO Plasma, LCD and front projection products.

    The company will still be stocking and selling their plasmas in the UK until the end of the year (or until stocks last) .

    Audio and audio-visual amps, receivers, integrated systems, speakers and BD Players are not affected by today's announcement and will continue as normal.

    All warranties and after sales advice will be honoured well after production finally stops on the KURO products.



    Here is the Pioneer press release in full.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 25, 2009
  2. dj-dulux

    dj-dulux
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    Phil,

    This is not good, it has been rumoured for a while, but I think most of us were hoping it was untrue. Where does this leave us now? Panasonic pro panels I guess, lets hope they keep producing....

    A sad day in the AV world...

    Dupe...
     
  3. Simon Crust

    Simon Crust
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    A minutes silence for our fallen comrade
     
  4. kingfats

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    Sad news. :(
     
  5. eiren

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    This is terrible for AV in general. I really hope there will continue to be options in the future for those that value quality over budget.

    Thank you Pioneer for giving me the best television I am likely to be able to buy now until one of the new technologies (OLED/FED etc) has fully matured (a good way off yet I suspect).
     
  6. Suave

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    Hi All,

    This is inevitable but terrible news - it is the end of a clear champion of the HDTV world - I am gutted. I do not believe anything will compare until the next generation of FPTV is established which seems to be a very long way away.

    Suave!
     
  7. dereks

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    was planning on replacing my 435 early 2010 with a new pioneer:(
     
  8. resin

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    That sucks.:mad: Pioneer ARE the best, what will we lose next.... blu ray?:thumbsdow
     
  9. garyscottmagic

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    Where does this leave us when bargain hunting for these displays?

    It wasn't that long after the withdrawl of hd-dvd by Toshiba that prices plummeted....

    Best wishes
    Garyscottmagic
     
  10. supersub40

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    Thank god i bought my KRP600A when i did ! Will have to last forever
     
  11. bladedripper

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    Looks like i will be keeping my tv for a long time.
     
  12. Sephiroth0000

    Sephiroth0000
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    Lets look at the brightside.....might be able to get them a little cheaper now! Then again they could go up in price due to production lines coming to a halt (whenever that may be)
     
  13. mjcairney

    mjcairney
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    A sad day indeed. :(

    Cheers,

    Martin.
     
  14. Stuart

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    It was the other way round. Toshiba fire-saled the players just before withdrawl and the stock shortly ran out after the announcement and the prices started to rise again.

    If I'm reading the announcements right, the Pioneer UK plant will close this month, so once the existing stock has gone, expect the prices to sky rocket, because there will never be a better plasma than the 9Gs and now is your last chance to get one.

    I just hope mine lasts at least until OLED or LCD have caught up, which I guess will be at least another 5 years away.
     
  15. jwramsay

    jwramsay
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    Just told my mate who works in an authorised Pioneer repair centre, he didn't even know. Plasma repairs are their bread n butter.
     
  16. signs

    signs
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    It's very sad news ,but at the end of the day people just don't have the money to spend on high end luxury products anymore :(
     
  17. Mo Better Blues

    Mo Better Blues
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    This feels very selfish but do I now hurt my credit card and buy a 5090 or not?
     
  18. kingfats

    kingfats
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    That is true,i always thought the Pioneer was fairly priced though.
     
  19. Bolar

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    Ooooh, I dont know whether to sell mine now, I planned on buying another next year when I can settle down workwise,

    I dont think I could live in another place without the Pio, even when its off(which it generally is unfortunately) it makes my living room!
     
  20. Pecker

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    Very sad news and very troubling news.

    My only hope is that, with Pioneer and Fujitsu pulling out, all of those people insisting on plasma quality will have no option but to go to Panasonic, and that this extra trade for Panny will help them survive.

    Most worrying is that, like mp3 vs DVD-A/SACD, we'll see quality crushed by a 'cheap as chips' mentality.

    I mean these things are not really expensive. You can get a G9 50" 1080p plasma for what, £1,500? Before flat panels took off you had to pay £1,200 for a decent make 32" SD CRT.

    Steve W
     
  21. Phil Hinton

    Phil Hinton
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    Post coming soon as we have comment direct from Pioneer UK.
     
  22. kingfats

    kingfats
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    My worry as well.
     
  23. =adrian=

    =adrian=
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    A sad day indeed. Tough I was expecting that to be honest, with everybody just looking for bargain TV, not many looking for quality :( Looks like my 8G will have to last few more years - don't have money at the moment to invest in 9G; would love to though :rolleyes:
     
  24. Gliese 581c

    Gliese 581c
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    We all knew it was coming, but still its hard to take when its made final. Its a very sad day indeed.

    I'll be keeping my Kuro right to the very end, might invest in a KRP for the bedroom now.
     
  25. the thing wnn

    the thing wnn
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    same for me, would love a KRP or a standard nine series, but my LX5080 will have to keep me going for some time
    Sad news as i hoped there would be enough of a market for a superior product like the KURO's to keep Pioneer in it
    I just hope the technology gets sold on and the guys behind these great screens go to Panny or somewhere else
    RIP KURO
     
  26. BAN5HEE

    BAN5HEE
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    This is bad news. I was planning on getting a Pio next year as I need to pay off a couple debts this year but this news has just squashed that dream....:thumbsdow
     
  27. Phil Hinton

    Phil Hinton
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    Following the announcement, I have just finished a 15 minute conversation with Jim Catcheside, Product manager at Pioneer GB who has commented on the news.

    First of all this announcement only affects Plasma, LCD and front projection technology. The AV Business which includes; Audio and audio-visual amps, Receivers, integrated systems, speakers and BD Players are not affected by today's announcement.


    “"Phil, first of all, lets put this in context: Plasma was only 14% of our overall global business at Pioneer and although this is a sad announcement, for all our KURO fans (including me), Pioneer have had no other choice than make this decision, particularly within the current global economic climate. Plasma has only been a part of our history for the last twelve years and in consumer TV terms only the last eight or nine. We were first and foremost founded as an Audio brand (speaker manufacturer) in 1937 and it's with this pedigree and heritage that we will be continuing with our other AV products, as well as other areas of the company such as car audio and navigation,” said Catcheside, adding "As stated in our companies announcement, we will continue to sell our current 9th Generation KURO TVs and withdraw from the global display business by March 2010."

    Although Jim couldn't comment on exactly when the existing production lines will stop producing the current models, I know from previous dealings within the industry that manufacturers tend to be about 2-3 months ahead in terms of production. This, I would speculate means that there should be production of the current lines until at least December this year.

    Jim added, “Whilst I cannot comment on specific production quantities, the existing G9 models were not due to be replaced until very late in 2009, therefore customers who still want to purchase the best TV in the world can still buy a KURO (whilst our stocks last). Warranty, after sales, both hard and software support including spare parts will continue to be fully supported by Pioneer. Equally, (for the time being) it's business as usual with the full line up of KURO TV's and selected AV products being shown and demonstrated at the Bristol show next week”.

    So there you have it, some clarification from this morning's announcement and to summarise;

    The announcement only affects KURO Plasma, LCD and front projection products.

    The company will still be stocking and selling their plasmas in the UK until the end of the year (or until stocks last) .

    Audio and audio-visual amps, receivers, integrated systems, speakers and BD Players are not affected by today's announcement and will continue as normal.

    All warranties and after sales advice will be honoured well after production finally stops on the KURO products.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2009
  28. Zed_Bee

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    I talk to the guys at the Pioneer shop in the City Centre and they didnt know anything about it - poor buggers.
     
  29. kingfats

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    Thanks Phil at least "this" part is good news.
     
  30. andrew markwort

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    Sorry to be a dissenting voice, but it's simple economics. The Kuro was very good indeed - but not that much better than its cheaper rivals to justify an extra cost that could buy you a decent family holiday. At least that's what I thought when I was buying a new set last year (and yes, I could afford a Kuro, it's not sour grapes) and judging by the sales, a lot of others think the same.
     

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