Plasma nearing extinction as LCD TVs advance

LCD pioneers predict the end for plasma TVs

As consumer electronics brands go, Pioneer's Kuro plasma TVs have been a shining beacon of hope over the last few years. It's a fairly established fact that Pioneer's Kuro TVs are by far the best in the business.

Panasonic, too, makes some extraordinarily good plasma TVs. And LG isn't a slouch in the plasma department, either.

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However, plasma TVs only make up 10 per cent of flat screen sales. And with LCD panels improving exponentially year-on-year, and with OLED emerging as a viable future option, some people are predicting the imminent death of plasma as a mass market technology.

In an interview with TechRadar, the man responsible for picture quality at Philips, Danny Tack, said that LCD TVs will continue to prevail, at the expense of plasma which will slowly fade away.

"I think even Pioneer sees there is an end to plasma. It's not for nothing that Pioneer decided not to bring their newest ultimate plasmas - they're stopping with that. And they're also moving or changing to LCD. It's not only me that says this. I think they also recognise that they have to move over to LCD in order to stay in the industry," he said.

OLED on the up

Tack also said that the introduction of OLED TVs will further squeeze plasma's market share.

Pioneer has indeed taken a small step back from the plasma business. It's recently engaged itself with two important partnerships. One with Panasonic which from now on will be manufacturing the plasma panels for both itself and Pioneer.

And the other is with Sharp, who will be providing LCD panels to Pioneer for its new LCD TV range.

Tack's views were backed up by Tim Page, the technology marketing manager at Sony when we spoke to him earlier today.

"We withdrew from plasma two or three years ago. Traditionally, plasma was the only way to get big sized TVs. But now we've got LCD at 72-inch and 82-inch and so that argument no longer exists.

"The plasma market is still only about 10 per cent of the whole flat screen market. LCD is still way, way the majority compared with that. The demand for plasma will continue to decrease, and LCD will only improve," he said.

The general consensus here at IFA seems to be that at the moment, plasma still has a part to play. That's doubly so with screen sizes over 60-inches.

However, as time goes by, plasma looks set to become a more-niche option, with LED backlit LCD TVs taking the fore until OLED is improved.