5/30/08

Is Plasma HDTV dying..?

One of the great constants of technology is change…

Change that certainly applies in the consumer electronics industry as well.

Let’s examine televisions, and more specifically the plasma HDTV. In the late 90s when flat screen televisions became all the rage, it was all about the plasma. It was the buzz word of the day. I even recall a conversation years ago with an individual that inquired if it was similar to blood plasma in the screens – but that’s another story!

OK, back on topic – let me cover a few particulars that are quietly slipping beneath the public consciousness. LCD televisions, the “other” flat screen, have increased in screen size and quality recently, as well as dropping in price. In fact, the industry predicts an almost 8 to 1 sales advantage this year for LCD vs. Plasma televisions, with LCD sales expected near the 100 million mark.

Coinciding with this sales differential, several companies are announcing departures from plasma technology. Philips is the most recent company to make such an announcement, ending plasma production after this year. Even Pioneer will begin outsourcing their panel production elsewhere.

The final nail in the plasma coffin may be an emerging technology called OLED. Think of it as a leaner, meaner flat panel screen (more on these later).

Fear not if you already own a plasma television. It is not going to suddenly cease function. Just remember to look on the bright side that, as these technologies continue to change, the products that we the consumer use generally become better and better. You might even call it the golden age for couch potatoes..!

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