LG's Exit May Herald End of Plasma TVs

Do you have a plasma TV? If so, you're in a minority that's about to get even smaller. TV manufacturer LG has announced that it will no longer produce plasma TVs after November, leaving only one other major competitor that still supplies the unusual TV type.

Reuters provided the full story earlier today (Oct. 28). An LG spokesman, Ken Hong, informed the news service that selling plasma TVs was an untenable business proposition, despite a few diehards who absolutely swear by the devices. Selling plasma TVs made up only 2.3 percent of the company's revenue in 2013.

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Analysts from NPD don't foresee a bright future for the technology, either. Although 5.2 million plasma TVs shipped worldwide in 2014 (out of the hundreds of millions of TVs shipped overall), there will only be about 500,000 in 2015.

For those who don't know, plasma TVs work by electrifying noble gases to form plasma — a nebulous "fourth state" of matter that has qualities of solids, liquids and gases. Due to how they work, plasma TVs are very bright and can deliver excellent contrast, but tend to demand more electricity and run hotter than their LCD cousins. They also cost more, which is probably the primary reason why consumers appear to prefer LCD in general.

Panasonic discontinued its plasma line last year, which leaves Samsung as the only major plasma manufacturer on the market. However, Reuters pointed out that the company that makes Samsung's plasma panels will also exit the market by the end of November, making plasma TVs that much harder to produce.

Whether plasma TVs come to an end in the near future or the slightly more distant future, the technology's expiration date seems to be drawing close. The good news is that if you buy a new one today, it should last you for many years to come.

Marshall Honorof is a Staff Writer for Tom's Guide. Contact him at mhonorof@tomsguide.com. Follow him @marshallhonorof and on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.