Pioneer Corporation (パイオニア株式会社 Paionia Kabushiki-kaisha?) commonly referred to as Pioneer, is a Japanese multinational corporation that specializes in digital entertainment products, based in Tokyo, Japan. The company was founded by Nozomu Matsumoto in 1938 in Tokyo as a radio and speaker repair shop, and its current president is Susumu Kotani.
Pioneer played a role in the development of interactive cable TV, the Laser Disc player, the first automotive Compact Disc player, the first detachable face car stereo, Supertuner technology, DVD and DVD recording, plasma display (branded as Kuro), and Organic LED display (OLED). The company works with optical disc and display technology and software products and is also a manufacturer. Sharp Corporation took a 14% stake in Pioneer in 2007, which has been reduced to 9%, but Sharp still remains the largest shareholder of Pioneer Corporation, followed by Honda Motor Co., Ltd. who owns roughly 4% of Pioneer shares following a memorandum between the two companies in 2010 to strengthen business ties.
In March 2010, Pioneer stopped producing televisions, announced on 12 February 2009. On June 25, 2009, Sharp Corporation agreed to form a joint venture on their optical business to be called Pioneer Digital Design and Manufacturing Corporation. In September 2014, Pioneer agreed to sell Pioneer Home Electronics (Home A/V) to Onkyo, and in March 2015, Pioneer sold its DJ equipment business division to KKR, which resulted in the establishment of Pioneer DJ as a separate entity, independent of Pioneer.
Brands and devices
Original Pioneer logo (1970-1998)
Pioneer logo (1998-present)
Pioneer — car electronics
Pioneer Elite produces premium electronics that are usually higher in quality and price. Most Pioneer Elite branded electronics have the gloss black "Urushi" finish.
Pioneer Elite products include AVRs, Laserdisc players, CD players, DVD players, plasma computer monitors and televisions [Now discontinued], and rear-projection televisions. Pioneer Elite debuted their first Blu-ray Disc player, the BDP-HD1, in January 2007. Pioneer released the first 1080p plasma display, the PRO-FHD1.
In Summer of 2007, Pioneer released the Kuro line of plasma displays, that the company claims has the best black levels of any flat panel display which leads to greater contrast, and more realistic images. Kuro means black in Japanese.
Carrozzeria (Japan only) — car electronics
Pioneer Premier (North America only) — high-end car electronics [Now discontinued]
TAD — Technical Audio Devices. Primarily noted as a manufacturer of high efficiency audio loudspeaker components and complete speaker systems for the commercial sound reinforcement and recording studio markets. The base for US operations is located in southern California, with limited design/manufacturing done on site. Operations commenced in the early 1980s and continue to this day with a limited offering of speaker components and expanded offering of consumer speakers and electronics.
Pioneer DJ — DJ equipment
Pioneer Premium Audio- a brand of factory-installed OEM premium sound systems for GM vehicles: Chevrolet Cobalt, Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain, Pontiac G5, and Pontiac Torrent as seven-speaker premium sound systems, and a premium sound system for the Ford Ranger and Mazda B-Series compact pickup trucks.