Say goodbye to Kuro as we knew (and loved) it, as Pioneer officially announced that after panel production of the next series of models is complete, it's ending all in-house plasma panel production and will build HDTVs based on panels bought elsewhere. The source went unnamed pending a final agreement, but Panasonic will likely follow up the 42-inch it's providing with plasmas of up to 60-inches. Due this fall are Kuro-edition LCDs, combining Pioneer's ultra-thin speakers and exacting picture quality standards with screens built by Sharp (hopefully this time sans-banding issues) that should see release Europe first. Other businesses affected are car audio, DJ equipment and Blu-ray players, but by streamlining operations and working closely with Sharp, it expects a return to profitability in 2010. Fans of deep black levels and accurate color reproduction probably shouldn't be alone right now, take a look at the .pdf and let the healing process begin in the comments. You're among friends, you're strong, you will get through this.

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