Panasonic has had a stellar TV reputation for decades, but that reputation hasn’t saved them from the impact of cutthroat competition.
In 2016, they left the U.S. TV market. Recently they allowed limited offerings of select models of their highly coveted Hollywood Professional OLED Display TV models in the U.S. through high-end dealer Value Electronics, but supply has been intermittent.
On a parallel track, Panasonic has decreased TV production in Japan, China, and Vietnam. Now comes word that it is discontinuing TV production in Europe. Panasonic has stated that going forward, all of its TV manufacturing will be outsourced.
This type of arrangement is not new as Funai now manufactures Philips-branded TVs for distribution in several markets, including North America. There are other examples of TV brands outsourcing or licensing their name to others.
Although Panasonic hasn’t formally announced who will be making Panasonic-branded TVs going forward, word is that TCL might pick up the load. This would mean that TCL (or someone else) would make TVs carrying the Panasonic brand name. It is also possible that depending on the market, more than one company may be involved.
This is important because TCL doesn’t have OLED TV manufacturing facilities, so another company may be called in unless Panasonic decides to retain that capacity.
This is especially important as even though Panasonic uses OLED panels made by LG Display Company (just as all other OLED TV brands currently do) they will continue to use their own video processing technology so manufacturing needs to stay under some type of Panasonic control.
Panasonic has also indicated that even if TCL or another manufacturer produces Panasonic-branded TVs, Panasonic will still be controlling the needed R&D and design so that the TVs meet Panasonic’s specifications. Hopefully, they will also be in control of on-site quality control during the manufacturing process.
It must also be pointed out that Panasonic has a significant presence in the professional video realm as they supply TV and Cinema Cameras, as well as monitors to major Hollywood, TV, and movie studios around the world. Whether production of those products will remain with Panasonic has not been indicated.
NOTE: This is a developing story, as more relevant details are revealed, especially if it affects the U.S. TV market, this article will be updated.