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Sony said to be outsourcing production of high-end LCDs, Foxconn and Wistron getting the nod

Tim Stevens

Potentially bad news this morning for fans of high-end Sony HDTVs. The company, still struggling with huge losses and desperate to find reasonable pricing for its exported TVs amid historically high values for the yen, is looking to outsource not only assembly but full panel production on many of its LCDs. According to the report, up to 80 percent of Sony's 2011 sets will be manufactured externally, with between 40 and 50 percent of those getting panels manufactured by Foxconn-affiliate CMI. Foxconn itself is said to be producing 18 million sets, while Wistron, the other major partner here, will stamp out Sony's Google TV. If true this will be the first time Sony has outsourced full production of its higher-end models to Taiwan. None of this has been confirmed by any of these players, so apply salt to taste, but the concepts certainly make sense, and recent production slowdowns at the company's massive new LCD production facility could be related. Naturally you're wondering whether this move to help Sony's bottom line will hurt quality, but since Sony just sold one of its major panel-production facilities to Foxconn last year maybe this isn't so much a change as it is keeping things the same.

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