Pioneer Announces New Plasma HDTVs

Pioneer has a strong reputation for high-quality plasma displays. At their spring line show event in New York, the company announced their new products for 2007:

Brand Model No. Screen Size (Diagonal) Resolution Availability Suggested Price
Pioneer PDP-4280HD 42 inch XGA June $2,700
Pioneer PDP-5080HD 50 inch XGA June $3,500
Pioneer PDP-5010FD 50 inch 1080p September $5,000
Pioneer PDP-6010FD 60 inch 1080p September $6,500
Elite PRO-950HD 42 inch XGA July $3,200
Elite PRO-1150HD 50 inch XGA July $4,500
Elite PRO-110FD 50 inch 1080p September $6,000
Elite PRO-150FD 60 inch 1080p September $7,500

One look at the prices makes it clear that Pioneer intends to hang onto the premium positioning for plasma HDTVs, but that’s certainly going to be a challenge as the “lesser” brands improved their quality and close the gap between “good enough” and “the best”. A look at the pricing also indicates how difficult it will be for plasma to compete with LCD in the 50″ range. The Pioneer new models have a $1,500 premium for 1080p resolution (over the typical 1,024 by 768 pixel XGA resolution). Sharp Aquos LC-52D62U and LC-52D82U 52″ 1080p LCD HDTVs are readily available for less than $3,000 already.

It’s little wonder that Pioneer annnounced yesterday that the company plans to “break away from the commoditization model that most manufacturers are taking with flat panel displays”. It strikes me that commoditization — which means low prices and vanishing profit margins — are a function of competition in the marketplace and not the result of a strategic plan by manufacturers to lose money. So it’s not immediately obvious how Pioneer plans to succeed by not competing on price.

Is a plasma HDTV the best choice for you? Find out in Professor Poor’s Quick Guide: How to Choose the Best HDTV.