Pioneer axe plasma HDTV business

Appalling news for big-screen plasma TV fans, as Pioneer announce their intention to withdraw from the HDTV business and concentrate instead on car and home audio, DJ equipment and cable TV boxes.  The news comes as the company reveals it expects a 130 billion yen ($1.44bn) net loss, with the restructuring – which will see plants in the UK and US closed, product development axed and around 10,000 employees jobless – aimed to complete by March 2010.

All development of Pioneer's HDTV technology – including the much-loved Kuro range – will cease pretty much immediately, with no launches intended to take place beyond what models are currently in the market.  Meanwhile the company's UK plants will shut up shop this month, while the US plants will follow in April.

The job losses will affect both full and part-time staff, and executives will see both pay-cuts and the loss of their regular bonuses.  Pioneer intend to focus on their expertise in audio quality, together with next-gen optical disc based hard-drive production and ultra-sensitive imaging.