Panasonic to Intro ‘Slimmer’ Plasma HD

Like a lot of diet-conscious folks soon after the New Year begins, Panasonic said it plans to emphasize both slimness and more environmental-friendly technology when it comes to its newest line of HD plasma models by springtime (economic hurdles aside.).

Panasonic plans to launch its new line in Japan in April that it says will be “a quarter of the thickness” and consume half as much electricity as conventional models. Although it didn’t say exactly what it means by “conventional,” its 50-inch plasma panel is expected to be only about an inch thick, according to Reuters.

Panasonic has been the largest plasma TV maker globally for the past few years (runner-up is Samsung). Its current goal is to improve combined sales of its LCD and plasma units by as much as 50 percent (that’s about 15.5 million units shipped for its fiscal year starting April 1) in the the year starting in April.

And consumers will be asked to pay for that extra thinness: Panasonic said MSRP for its 1 inch-wide, 50-inch diagonal panel will be in the ballpark of $6,700.

The new line should reach North America by this summer.