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Three Strikes and You’re Out: Samsung Ending Plasma TVs
Will OLED and Ultra HD TVs make up for the loss of plasma?
July 03, 2014 by Grant Clauser

Well, no one should be too surprised at this, but it appears Samsung is joining Panasonic (and Pioneer, Hitachi, Fujitsu, Runco…) as the latest HDTV manufacturer to call it quits on the plasma TV business. That leaves only LG.

As you probably remember, last year Panasonic, known at the time for making the industry’s best-performing television (the ZT60), pulled the plug on those plasma TVs to focus solely on LED LCD TVs. Samsung is now joining them, reports Reuters, which states the reason as “the decline in overall demand for plasma display panel televisions.”

This is something that continues to baffle people in the home theater business. Let’s make this clear—plasma TVs (mostly) produce better pictures than LCD TVs, even LED LCD TVs. There are some LEDs that come close, very close, but those have always been the most expensive models. Plasma looks better and cost less (check out this 64-inch plasma for $1,2999).

What part of that didn’t the buying public understand?

Now the only plasma TV maker left is LG, who no doubt also has plans to scrap its plasma business.

Another likely reason, aside from consumer lack of interest, is the move to 4K. The entire TV manufacturing business is transitioning to Ultra HD 4K TVs, and that’s not a transition that plasma panels make easily. What kind of message would Samsung (or anyone else, for that matter) be able to make about picture quality if they sold top-performing plasmas but pushed more expensive LED 4K sets at the same time?

So with plasma TV’s end of the road soon upon us, what can we hope for next? What about OLED? OLED TVs are our hope for a truly awesome display technology, and the examples we’ve seen so far, mostly from Samsung and LG, have been as impressive as we could want. But they’re also crazy expensive. Samsung earlier this year made motions that it’s OLED adventures were going to move a little slower than previously expected (see here), but LG, on the other hand, pledged a whole lotta new OLED products. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Finally, the change isn’t happening immediately. According to the Reuters article Samsung will keeping making plasma TVs until November (probably to have them available for the holiday sale season).

By the way, we have a 65-inch Samsung 8550 Ultra HD LED TV in for review, which will be posted soon.

Also Check Out:
LG Launches 79-inch Ultra HD LCD TV for $8,000
JVC Launches 4K Ultra HD TVs from 55 to 85 Inches

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Grant Clauser - Technology and Web Editor, Electronic House
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. His latest book is Necessary Myths. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.

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Comments (4) Most recent displayed first.
Posted by Mark Anderson  on  07/08/14  at  12:19 PM

A sad day for videophiles

Posted by Philip  on  07/07/14  at  07:16 PM

My most recent experience with LED/LCD has been Samsung 4k and Sharp 70”.  The Sammy wasn’t tragic, but I have definitely seen better, and the Sharp was bordering on awful.  I do know from my days in retail years ago that the manufacturers and big box stores began pushing LED/LCDs on people because the stores made more money on those than plasma.  It wasn’t at all about doing what’s best for the consumer, but that shouldn’t shock anyone.  Does plasma make better images?  Sure, but LCD variants make more money.

Well, I’ll still promote the Samsung 8500 series plasma TVs for as long as they make them.  After Pioneer Elite was disco’d, I suggested the Panasonic ZT series to people, and then Panny disco’d them too.  Now I am behind the Sammy 8500, and I really hope the OLED stuff comes to the rescue in the near future.  We’ll see more at CEDIA, and hopefully they’ll have shipping product this coming Spring.

Posted by Jeff  on  07/07/14  at  06:00 PM

The public has spoken, and once again, they made the wrong choice.

Posted by Ed Avalos  on  07/07/14  at  01:49 PM

We live in an industry overrun with companies that simply forgot how to sell.
Your comment, “.... a better product that cost less…” was spot on;  And they couldn’t sell it.
It’s sad.
I’m keeping my Panasonic plasma.


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