Panasonic 42″ 1080p Plasma HDTV

Last Thursday, I attended the Panasonic spring line show press event, and while much of the news was as might be expected, the company announced plans for the TH-42PZ700, a 42″ plasma model with 1080p resolution that is expected to ship in June for a suggested retail price of $2,499.

The question is why Panasonic is bothering with this model. It is extremely difficult to fabricate the tiny waffle ribs required to make all the pixels required for 1080p, and the price reflects that. With lower resolution 50″ plasma sets selling for less than $2,000, it’s not clear that plasma fans will pay more for a smaller screen. And if it’s bargains you’re looking for, LCD models like the 42″ 1080p Westinghouse LVM-42w2 sell for less than $1,500.

The Panasonic brand name certainly helps buyers pay a bit of a premium for their products, but their 42″ 1080p model does not look like it will be competitive when it comes out in June.