Updated 9/18/08
Hitachi has announced it will cease production of its own plasma glass panels and  begin to source its plasma glass panels from Panasonic, in the fiscal year  beginning in April 2009, while continuing to produce drive modules and assemble complete plasma HDTVs at it plasma manufacturing plant in Japan.

Hitachi will continue to market and sell plasma TVs. Currently Hitachi’s panel factory produces 42” and 50” plasma HDTVs for the US market. This deal will allow Hitachi to reenter the 60” and larger screen size category.

When Hitachi plasma glass panel production ends in 2009, Panasonic will be the sole Japanese maker of plasma display panels.

Hitachi added in its press releases that it intends to collaborate with Panasonic (called Matsushita in Japan) to produce thinner, more energy efficient flat panel TVs. In addition, Hitachi revealed it intends to expand its plasma line up and develop Internet-enabled TVs.

The two press releases can be found at http://www.hitachi.com/New/cnews/f_080918c.pdf and http://www.hitachi.com/New/cnews/f_080918b.pdf

This report comes in during a year that has seen a vast consolidation in the TV industry. Pioneer made a similar announcement a few months ago, and will also begin sourcing its plasma panels from Panasonic in early 2009.  Philips now buys all its assembled HDTVs for US consumption from Funai (and continues to market and sell TV under the Philips brand name), Olevia filed for bankruptcy and many other third tier LCD HDTV brands have exited the US market in 2008.

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