Vizio is the latest manufacturer to drop plasma TV production

Vizio will abandon its plasma TV efforts so it can focus solely on its LCD TV line that helped give U.S. consumers another low-cost brand to choose from when shopping for a new TV.

Although the Vizio web site still shows several plasma models, the company didn't announce any new plasma units during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last month in Las Vegas.  If Vizio and Pioneer both exit the plasma TV market, then U.S. consumers will be left choosing from Samsung, Panasonic or LG Electronics.

Vizio's current plasma TV inventory is dwindling fast, so consumers interested in purchasing a Vizio-made plasma TV should likely hurry.

The news comes days after rumors surfaced indicating Pioneer will also abandon its plasma TV efforts so it can focus on LCDs.

Manufacturers are able to charge more for LCD TVs and can sell them much faster and easier than plasma TVs.  Furthermore, manufacturers are able to generate higher revenue from LCD TV sales, and shoppers interested in environmental friendly technology avoided plasma TVs in the past.

Moving forward, Vizio will focus on adding new features to its LCD line of TV models.  For example, Vizio is putting the finishing touches on its first LED-backlit LCD TV, which will be available in July -- it's a 55-inch model using 240Hz technology, and will cost $1,999.

Although it has carved out a niche market for itself as a low-priced TV manufacturer since its creation five years ago, Vizo understands that it must branch out and offer a wider variety of products.  Aside from TVs, Vizio plans to launch its first standalone Blu-ray player in May for $199, which will be significantly less than most other Blu-ray players available on the market today.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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