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Flat panel price wars: Are Pioneer & Hitachi big enough to sit at this table?


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Size does matter, at least if you're an LCD manufacturer. While 2005 may have ended without the oversupply and price crash many had predicted, as LG & Samsung continue to add production capacity prices will (someday) drop, and smaller manufacturers may be squeezed out. The outlook for plasmas is similar, with Matsushita (Panasonic) currently holding one-third of the market, and also with plans to expand production rapidly over the next few years.

What can smaller manufacturers do? A few things, like partner up. For a company like Pioneer, maybe it's time to start focusing on features, not price and volume. They could start by offering 1080p TVs that accept 1080p inputs (oh wait, they already do that), provide in-home calibration, longer warranties, Ethernet ports for streaming, something. Maybe by the end of this year they'll be willing to throw in an HD-DVD or Blu-ray player just to differentiate themselves.

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