Anyone who's strolled through a big box retailer's HDTV department has probably seen a variety of Panasonic plasmas, but you may not have paid too much attention to the company's own LCD TV lineup while you were there. According to Panasonic, that's to be expected, as the firm is somewhat undercutting its own LCD lineup by "extolling the benefits of plasma compared with LCDs," and has even went so far as to "offer picture comparisons for journalists at electronics shows" demonstrating plasma as the superior format. This holiday season, the firm took things to another level by not only opening up their plasma concierge service for free to potential buyers, but it even ran a national ad that "pointed out plasma's superior contrast, color rendition, crisp motion, viewing angle and durability when compared with LCD TVs." The self-inflicted undercutting isn't quite as surprising as it may seem on the surface, however, as profit margins on LCD HDTVs have plummeted over the past year, and the firm is also attempting to "segregate the market" by insinuating that LCD TVs (which Panny conveniently makes 23- to 32-inch flavors of) are the "right choice for kitchens and rooms needing smaller sets," while plasmas fit the bill for rooms needing larger screens. But hey, if Panny doesn't mind giving up those LCD TV sales, we're sure plasma-free Sony would gladly pick up the lost business.

Predictions for 2007?