Pioneer to launch LCD TVs by end of 2008

CES 2008: Future TV tech key to Pioneer-Sharp deal

Pioneer may launch a range of LCD TVs this year, in order to complement its highly successful Kuro plasma range. The sets - sized at 32-inches or below - are likely to be made by Pioneer partner Sharp initially. Sharp bought a 14.28 per cent stake in Pioneer last year.

Pioneer UK product manager Jim Catcheside also told us that both company's display expertise could yield considerable benefits in future, especially when it comes to new TV technologies.

"I certainly hope that there will be more collaboration on technology in the future. And then thinking commercially, Sharp has got fantastic market share in Japan. It is the market leader in Japan with the Aquos range," said Jim Catcheside in an interview.

Using Pioneer's kudos

"However, Sharp has got quite a small percentage of market share in Europe, [and] Europe is quite a major player in the TV market globally. Sharp has obviously recognised that through the type of distribution Pioneer has got even a badged Sharp product will do very well in Europe instantly...

"The collaboration on technology will come, but I wouldn't get too excited about the first - very first - product that you have, having too much collaborative involvement in terms of technology...

"There are dealers out there who would love to sell a 32-inch Pioneer branded screen, whether it was made by us, Sharp or anyone else for that matter. They get a customer who wants to buy a Pioneer-branded product because he owns a Pioneer Blu-ray player, an amp and all the other bits that go with it."

Sticking with plasma

So while it's likely that we will see Sharp-made, Pioneer-branded LCD TVs later this year, Catcheside suggests that it's in new TV technologies where we'll see the real fruits of the Sharp-Pioneer deal:

"What are they working on? I can't comment on that. OLED? Organic electro-luminescent display? Pioneer has thousands of patents, Sharp has thousands of patents. Now I'm sure - and I think that's more likely than any collaborative involvement in LCD or plasma - that's the future of whatever it might be."