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Plasma HDTV Technology Isn't Dead Yet

With the recent demise of Pioneer’s HDTV business (which means the extinction of some of the best plasma TVs ever) and the announcement that Vizio will be ditching the technology to concentrate solely on LCD, many were spelling doom for the display technology.

In fact, recent iSuppli research data shows that LCD TV sales still managed to increase despite the recession. Where is plasma in all this? According to answers given to HD Guru by LG Electronics, Panasonic and Samsung, plasma TVs are still going strong.

“Plasma will continue to be a viable technology for flat-panel displays in the near- to mid-term future. Plasma continues to be the technology of choice for home theater enthusiasts, sports fans and consumers desiring a larger screen size,” said Tim Alessi, Director of Product Development, LG Electronics USA. “In 2009, we estimate that plasma will account for more than 40 percent of the 50-inch and larger screen size sales.  That unit volume will probably continue for at least the next 3 ~ 4 years.

Fan of Panasonic plasmas? Bob Perry, executive vice president for Panasonic Consumer Electronics, said, “We believe both technologies offer unique benefits and performance characteristics, and will be produced in high-quantity for years to come. Plasma is clearly not on the way out, the future is bright and growing, and fortunately, consumers research and buy what they like, what their neighbors own, and what makes sense to them from a value perspective.”

Samsung, a company known for its high-quality LCD HDTVs but does make a few plasmas, even chimed in supporting the technology.

“Plasma is an important part of the Flat Panel industry, representing approximately 30% of the 40”+ market and 50% of the 50”+ market,” said John Revie, senior vice president of visual display marketing at Samsung Electronics America. “For 2009, Samsung is introducing six new high performance Plasma TVs that feature better picture quality, slimmer and lighter design as well as advanced connectivity to content.”

While six new plasmas is definitely fewer than the number of LCDs that Samsung plans to roll out. 2009 will surely see more new LCD products than plasmas, but given the public responses in support of new plasma TVs from these three manufacturers, fans of the technology will still be able to buy the displays they want for the foreseeable future.

Perhaps LG’s Alessi said it best with, “The most tangible thing we do to deal with the rumors of plasma’s demise is to keep introducing new and improved products each year, which we expect to continue to do for the foreseeable future.”