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-   -   Are Plasma HDTVs On Their Way Out the Door? ( 05-22-2008 05:06 PM

Are Plasma HDTVs On Their Way Out the Door?
In the late 90s when flat-panel HDTVs first hit the market it was plasma that was the technology of choice. In their infancy, plasmas boasted massive sticker prices. It was not uncommon to see 42-inch sets for over $25,000. Now you can pick up a quality 50-inch plasma for under $2,000, but with the recent drop in LCD prices and increase in the available sizes of LCD panels has plasma reached the end of its lifespan?

Recent corporate announcements and industry trends suggests that plasma HDTVs will follow rear-projection HDTVs into the grave in the next 5 to ten years.

Philips is the most recent in a long line of manufacturers to announce that they will be exiting the plasma market next year. Funai, the vendor for the Philips brand has said there will be no new plasma display development after the end of the 2008. Just a few months ago, Pioneer announced that it would be ceasing all in-house plasma display production, instead outsourcing all panel production to Matsu****a, the parent company of Panasonic. With the release of Pioneer's latest KURO plasmas, all future Pioneer plasmas will be purchased from Panasonic. Fujitsu also announced late in 2007 that they would cease production of all displays sometime in the first half of 2008.

Many of these announcements come as studies show the rise in popularity of LCD HDTVs. The demand for LCDs is at about 100 million units this year, while the demand for plasmas are only at 13 million units.

Many consumers argue that the overall LCD experience is far superior to that of plasma technology, though surely plasma die-hards will disagree. The fact is that plasmas can hold onto any kind of market share only so long as home theater installers push them and LCD prices remain higher and screen sizes remain smaller than plasmas. However, consumers know about the burn-in issue and soft pictures yielded by many plasmas. Plasmas also initially had an issue with poor black levels. However, solace can now be found in the Pioneer KURO plasmas.

Initially highly priced, LCDs have reached a more reasonable price point. Manufacturers have also opened new production plants to cut larger glass panels, effectively increasing the screen size of LCDs now available. The technology is also much improved upon itself and other technologies. 120Hz motionflow technology, provided by LCDs, has become all the rage recently. Motionflow provides a smoother, more fluid picture than all previous technologies. And not too long ago Samsung introduced a prototype of 240Hz motionflow.

Vizio has also played a major role in the success of LCDs, being the first to market large LCD panels for a cost never seen before in the industry.

The appeal of LCD technology and offerings is increasing rapidly, leaving plasmas in the dust. Plasmas are hanging on by a thread with their slight advantage in terms of cost for the equipment. The real question becomes, will plasmas and LCDs both be phased out by OLED technology in the coming years? Stay tuned for more about OLED…

wes 05-22-2008 05:29 PM

Re: Are Plasma HDTVs On Their Way Out the Door?
Yes once OLED are at $2000 for a 60" at Costco before that I don't think so.

xsavoie 05-24-2008 09:59 AM

Re: Are Plasma HDTVs On Their Way Out the Door?
Plasma is a technology with problems.Some burn in issues as well as a limits to it's improving image quality.LCD probably has limits to it's image quality,as well as response time to fast movement of the image.With Mitsubishi's laser television as well as OLED televisions from other manufacturers coming out,it's likely that both Plasma and LCD technology might eventually be replaced by those two new technologies.Plasma would probably be the first one to go.

deacongreg 05-26-2008 12:48 PM

Re: Are Plasma HDTVs On Their Way Out the Door?
I`ve always been a fan of CRTs. The SONY XBR`s and such. While we have all this flat panel technology to generalize all the sets, CRTs where far more reliable, not as sensitive, and not as finicky. Bigger, yes. Cool factor, no.

OLED seems to have solved this. So, if OLED really is what they say they are, once the price comes down, watch out.

Lotus 05-26-2008 05:58 PM

Re: Are Plasma HDTVs On Their Way Out the Door?
Can we really say that there is a non-LED LCD that comes close to a KURO or even the new Panasonics in overall PQ?

Plasmas may be on the way out, but a lot of that has been from greed. Fujitsu for instance relied too long on high price points. Then the numbers dropped on them. Rather than lower the price point, they remained greedy, and the result is they are out of the plasma business.

Pioneer has always been strong in market shares with their plasmas. I don't see this going anywhere unless the Panasonic versions of their sets are a step back. The new Pannies appear to rock (the Panasonic labeled plasmas) and thus I think Pioneer should hold their market share. Installers LOVE their pioneer elites and I don't see a switch to LCD anytime soon. Although the LED LCDs by Samsung are getting attention from installers.

Rachael3000 05-27-2008 05:41 PM

Re: Are Plasma HDTVs On Their Way Out the Door?
TV theft is a rising problem around these parts. Folks may want to back to heavy theft-resistant sets in a few years, or wish they could. OLED's will be even easier to steal than plasmas or LCD's....

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