Plasma TVs are just about dead

July 3, 2014: 1:03 PM ET
samsung plasma tv production
It's the end of the line for Samsung's plasma TV's.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

The plasma TV business is fading to black.

Samsung confirmed Thursday that it was shutting down its plasma TV business "due to changes in market demands," choosing instead to focus on curved and ultra-high-definition models that use LED technology. The news was first reported by Reuters.

Samsung's announcement follows news last year that Panasonic had decided to stop making plasma panels. Seoul-based LG, the last major international plasma TV manufacturer, is also planning on shutting down plasma production, according to South Korea's Yonhap News Agency.

Manufacturers are increasingly looking to LED and LCD screens as they develop the next generation of TV sets. Veronica Thayer, a consumer electronics analyst with IHS, said the last shipments of plasma TVs for American retail shelves will come by the end of this year.

There are still a few Chinese companies producing plasma TVs, Thayer added, but those too will likely be gone by 2016.

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Plasma TVs are composed of pixels filled with gas that light up in different colors when they're hit with an electrical current. LED and LCD televisions uses screens made of liquid crystals that are lit up from behind to create images.

Plasma TVs offered what many considered to be the best picture quality on the market in the past few years, albeit at higher prices than LCDs. They gained favor thanks to their brighter images, warmer tones and wider viewing angles.

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But plasma screens are now being supplanted at the high end of the market by LED technology, which offers comparable picture quality on thinner screens that use less power.

IHS reported last month that plasma TV shipments dropped 16% globally in the first quarter versus a year prior, and that they "are on their way out of the industry permanently."


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