End of an Era: Samsung To Exit Plasma HDTV Production
Samsung’s plasma TV panel making division has decided to pull the plug on its plasma production at the end of November. What are the implications? We give you the details after the break.
Plasma once had a long list of panel makers including Hitachi, Pioneer, Fujitsu, NEC, Philips and Panasonic. Picture quality was not the issue for these companies pulling out, it was declining sales and associated high costs. Sales declined due to the superior marketing of LED LCD, along with its higher image brightness. Store salesmen would claim LED TV was a new technology, superseding plasma. It never was, but that’s an argument now left to history. One by one plasma TV panel makers pulled out. Panasonic, the market leader, decided to exit last year. Reasons cited were declining sales and the high expense to convert factories to UHD 4K panels. According to trade publication CE Daily, NPD analyst Stephen Baker said “plasma market share from the January-May period has steadily declined over the last three years from 19 percent in 2012, to 12 percent last year to 6 percent this year.”
Samsung’s departure at the end of 2014 leaves LG as the only TV maker supplying plasma TVs to the U.S. market. Unlike Samsung, which offers a full line of entry level 720p models, mid line 1080p and its top rated F8500 series, LG only offers entry and low mid-end models for 2014. Their future with plasma is unknown.
Samsung issued the following statement regarding its withdrawal from the plasma market: “We plan to continue our PDP TV business until the end of this year, due to changes in market demand. Samsung remains committed to providing consumers with products that meet their needs, and will increase our focus on growth opportunities in UHD TVs and curved TVs”
Should You Still Consider a Buying Plasma TV Model?
If you want a high definition display with deep blacks, excellent off-axis viewing, low motion blur, and accurate color the answer is yes. While UHD offers higher resolution and future picture improvements, full implementation is two to three years away. Large screen OLED UHD 4K TVs will offer deep blacks, wide viewing angles and bright images. However, they’re expected to be very expensive when new 55-, 65- and 77-inch models are released this fall by LG, currently the only company making large screen OLEDs (Samsung’s only OLED is carried over from last year).
Prices will drop on OLED, according to industry players, however pricing will not get near LED LCD pricing until 2017 at best.
Entry level big screen plasmas can still be purchased. The Samsung PN43F4500 43-inch 720p 600 Hz Plasma TV is available this week for $299.99 at Best Buy. ThePN51F4500 51-inch 720p Plasma TV is on sale for $399.99.
The Samsung F8500 plasma series earned our highest rating. Read our review here. You get them from Amazon. The Samsung PN51F8500 51-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV is $1797.99, the 60-Inch PN60F8500 is $2397.99 and the 64-Inch PN64F8500 is now $3097.00 (click links for more information).
Last year there was a run on Panasonic’s ST and ZT model series after it made their plasma exit announcement. If consumers desire the best HDTV available today they may want to pick up an F8500 before supplies run out.
So long plasma, you will be missed.
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