Panasonic and Samsung are two giants who have apparently thrown in the towel when it comes to manufacturing plasma TVs, with technology shifting towards producing LED and LCD televisions.
Panasonic announced a $10 billion loss for the year 2011, with one of the biggest losers being the plasma TV before it ceased production on the plasma HDTVs just last year, leaving Samsung to fill in the gap with its F8500 plasma line.
Samsung has announced that it will end production by the end of November, citing “changes in market demand” as the company will focus fully on 4K technology and its curved HDTVs.
While the TVs received admirable reviews from home theater enthusiasts, the critical praise wasn’t enough to keep the plasma line going.
“Plasma is a great technology that is suffering,” said Raymond Soneira, president of display-analysis company DisplayMate. “It has some advantages over LCDs but also has some disadvantages as well.”
Plasmas can create much darker blacks, have excellent viewing angles, more accurate color and no motion blur. However, LCDs are much brighter, which can be an advantage in well-lit rooms. They also don’t weigh as much and consume less power than plasma TV sets.
Besides the technical details, there exists the perception that LCD technology is newer, thus far more superior. But then LCD screens is nothing new as it has been around for years even before the first plasma sets came out.
Nevertheless, LCD technology hasn’t been adapted for larger displays until the last decade. Big-screen LCDs came out long after plasma models, hence appearing to consumers as a “hot new thing” – a mindset that LCD makers such as Samsung and Sharp were only too eager to exploit.
As the industry took a turn towards LCD, the technology improved greatly since its unveiling. Manufacturing of panels consolidated around a few large-scale companies made LCDs cheaper to produce.
There was also the “burn-in” issue, where buyers believed that watching the same material continuously would permanently “burn” the image into the plasma screen.
Burn-in managed to obtain a lot of press, hence the damage was done.
Lastly, there is the simple fact that people don’t buy TVs that often anymore. At this point, everyone who was going to buy an HDTV has already done so, and novel technologies such as 3D aren’t doing much to convince consumers to upgrade again.