January 30, 2007 1:37 PM PST

Prices to plunge with demand for plasma TVs?

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It looks as if plasma is losing ground in the high end of the TV market.

Shipments of plasma panels--sheets of glass placed inside plasma televisions--rose only 3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2006 over the same period the year before and actually declined 4 percent from the third quarter of 2006, according to research firm DisplaySearch.

It was the first quarter that plasma panel shipments grew less than 47 percent on a year-to-year basis and only the second time since the first quarter of 2003 that there has been a sequential decline.

Plasma panel shipments were 15 percent lower than the suppliers' aggregate forecast and 9 percent below DisplaySearch's forecast.

The shortcomings can largely be attributed to a loss of global market share to LCD, or liquid crystal display, TVs smaller than 50 inches across diagonally, as well as to limited North American sales of LCDs larger than 50 inches across, the firm said. The shift resulted in an increase in channel inventories and reduced plasma panel demand.

The slide in plasma display demand came despite substantial price cuts during the holiday season. Chances are, more plasma price cuts are on the way: historically, inventory overhangs lead to price cuts, so consumers could benefit.

DisplaySearch's research provides data for one of the lingering debates of the Consumer Electronics Show. Namely, what happens to plasma? Executives at Samsung Electronics and Royal Philips Electronics at the conference said the industry is at a point in which consumers really wouldn't care anymore.

Technologically, the two flat-screen TV types are about equal, said Lucas Covers, chief marketing officer at Philips. The real debate for consumers would be over aesthetics--how the TV looks--said John Revie, senior vice president of visual displays at Samsung.

Executives from LCD companies such as Sharp Electronics and Westinghouse Electric, however, said LCDs are already winning the 42-inch to 49-inch battle and that they would start to challenge plasma in TVs larger than 50 inches.

Even with the decline, Matsushita Electric Industrial (Panasonic in the United States) and Pioneer Electronics saw panel shipments grow in the fourth quarter at the expense of other competitors.

See more CNET content tagged:
DisplaySearch, price cut, shipment, plasma, plasma TV


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Power hungry
I think the real put off on modern plasma screens is the power consumption, which is many times that of any other equivalently sized HDTV.

Also it got a bad rep with pretty much unfounded scare stories.

People are under the impression you will need to re-charge the screens (not possible, no one does this because it isn't cost effective, and by the time it becomes necessary technology will definitely have moved on to significantly better things).

They are also under the impression they suffer from burn in relatively easily, which again is not true, it takes a marathon video gaming session over many days to achieve this, and in any case the burn in will correct itself over time.

But the power consumption can't be ignored. If CRT HDTVs came in these sizes, they would use perhaps a 1/4 of the power of these beasts - and CRT is hardly power efficient.

Personally with several new technologies on the horizon I won't be changing my old fashioned projection HDTV for a few years yet - unless good quality 46" 1080P LCD TVs fall under $1000 (not very likely).
Posted by ajbright (447 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Still prefer the brightness
and nondirectionality but once LCDs over 50 inch become common, plasma will fade away. Power and weight are against it.
Posted by MyLord (34 comments )
Reply Link Flag
burn in IS still an issue with Plasma, and no, it doesn't just "go away" after time.

Energy consumption is an issue as well.

Heat generated is a big issue. Hanging it on the wall is usually not feasible due to the heat, if your walls are just painted.

Plus you CAN find a good 1080p LCD for under $1,000. Circuit City has at least two for sale. But I would implore you not to hinge on the hype that is 1080p. The difference from 1080i is minimal on a TV that supports digital filtering.
Posted by ReVeLaTeD (755 comments )
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IMO,that statement is just plain wrong. the difference is FAR from minimal.

I have yet to see a 720 native set (either plasma or LCD) display a 1080i picture any where as good as a native 1080 set. Digital filtering helps but it cannot replace higher resolution.

Too many people keep saying that 1080 is hype... the only thing I can think of is they haven't seen a true 1080i signal on both sets!

My friends who have 720 (768 plasma) always leave bummed after viewing my 1080 LCD.
Posted by juser_bogus (31 comments )
Link Flag
July 2007 Plasma Price Drop
The real Plasma prices plunge...

<a href="http://www.pricefad.com/blog/2007/08/02/tvs-plasma-42in-july-07-price-war-fun-starts/">42in Plasma price losing ground...</a>
Posted by shellyle (25 comments )
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