Why does Pioneer want to stop making plasmas?

Both Samsung and Sony have already shown off prototypes, and we'll hopefully see some real world examples within the next couple of years.

When an LED is off, it really is off, giving you truly, deep dark blacks, banishing the dishwater greys of old. Team that with the improved colour fidelity that true blacks give you and you start to eliminate many of the benefits that plasma is supposed to offer over its arch-rival.

LEDs are also a lot more eco-friendly, since they're only using power when they're physically on, putting yet another shot across plasma's bows.

Dolby and HDR

Even sound expert Dolby is getting in on the act. The demos we've seen of its High Dynamic Range (HDR) technology are nothing short of remarkable. It's hoping to do for TV pictures what Dolby NR did for sound, by boosting contrast, detail and colour fidelity on LED-equipped LCDs.

Dolby is aiming to license the technology widely to TV-makers over the next few years, with high-end TV-maker SIM2 - which competes with Pioneer with its own DLP and LCD-based TVs - being an early partner.

Luckily for Pioneer a tie-in with Sharp last October [PDF link] also means that it will be able to take advantage of improvements in LCD technology. Pioneer has already said it will offer LCD TVs to its consumers in its Q2 statement... it's now a case of when, not if.

The Chinese are coming

Finally there's the health of TV-making itself. With anyone and his Pekinese now able to access cheap labour, parts and expertise in China, it won't be long before the UK supermarket shelves are groaning with super-cheap TVs that can match anything we've seen from the big brands today.

That will, of course, force some of those brands to go even more upmarket (just look at the Kuro, Bravia and Aurea), while others will disappear from the high street altogether. We've already seen NEC and Fujitsu exit. Care to place bets on who will be next?