Matsushita announced recently that it plans to close the CRT manufacturing plant in Troy, Ohio, which it owns in partnership with Toshiba. The plant builds CRTs for use in televisions, sold under a variety of brand names including Panasonic. Declining sales for CRTs in the face of the rising popularity of flat-panel LCD and plasma models led to the decision, and the plant is slated to close in February, 2006. At the same time, Matsushita is aggressively expanding its plasma panel production facilities in Japan, accelerating earlier estimates for increasing capacity.
We all saw this coming, but it’s a bit of a shock all the same. There will continue to be a market for CRT displays, and manufacturers outside the USA will continue to stock the shelves with low-cost televisions. But the steady decline of CRT sales and the falling prices for flat panels make it clear that CRT production is not going to be a growth industry again any time soon, if ever. LCDs still cost too much to knock CRTs out of the box completely, but it looks fairly certain that the day will come when CRTs join Lear 8-track tapes in the dusty archives of entertainment technology.