Tube TVs, which have been out of favor at retail for several
years now, are warming up for their swan song. Panasonic, one of the world’s
leading TV manufacturers, has announced plans to cease production of the sets.
It’s the end of a 55-year run for tube TVs at Panasonic. Even
after flat-panel sets became the standard in the U.S., there was a market for
tubes in poorer countries, with China and Southeast Asia making up the lion’s
share of the market. The company kept its hand in the market via a joint
venture in China. It now plans to sell its share in that company.
Panasonic isn’t the first major manufacturer to say goodbye to
the tube world. Sony announced plans to end production of the models in March of
2008. JVC, Toshiba and LG have abandoned the model as well.
The focus these days is on the next great thing. But as we
wait for 3D HD sets to hit the market at a non-staggering price, let us pause a
moment and say a fond farewell to the set that put the tube into “boob tube”.