It looks as though another AV and electronics giant could be calling it quits on the consumer space. In October, Panasonic had already announced the end of its involvement with plasma TVs. Even though plasma was once viewed as the television of choice for the technorati – the plasma platform has been increasingly pushed from the market in favor of brighter and cheaper LCD panels. Most of us weren’t surprised when the move was announced, especially after poor television sales helped lead Panasonic to a $10 loss for the year.
What I find more interesting is the fact that Panasonic is hinting at a greater focus on the professional AV market. It has begun to increase focus on B2B solutions and professional products including video switchers, digital signage solutions, and interactive whiteboards. Recent layoffs from consumer lines (outside of plasma) and new management hires seem to emphasize the move toward professional AV.
We founded Mersive on the premise that a very large underserved middle market exists for professional AV-like experiences in general purpose environments. Barco and Christie have both recognized the middle market and have made significant steps to move down market and build more general purpose, professional quality products for the conference room. It now looks as though major players in the consumer space recognize the same thing and want to move up market. It’s been obvious there is demand in the professional space for a better, lower-cost display experience (when a hotel buys a 15-foot wide 3xHD display platform for a meeting room, you can’t help but notice). It’s nice to see both consumer and professional AV companies moving into the space.