LCD vs Plasma in 2009

Although the debate between LCD and plasma has raged on for years, the real battle only started two years ago when manufacturers started producing LCDs big enough to go head to head with plasmas. Now that it has been raging for two years, we've seen some interesting trends develop. LCDs have been very successful at pushing plasma out of its most popular size, 42-inches, and some manufacturers have stopped producing that size all together. Also a result of the success of LCDs, the number of plasma manufactures has decreased over the past two years. Pioneer is the most notable to announce its plan to stop producing its own plasmas starting with the next model and will instead buy glass from Panasonic, but Hitachi and Phillips have also announced similar plans -- and Fujitsu got out of the display business all together. Some might use these events combined with the latest green movement to conclude that plasma is dead, but not so fast.

Plasmas still offer the best value in the 50+ sizes and the best contrast and color reproduction -- which any videophile will tell you is way more important than brightness, which seems to be sole reason why the masses prefer LCD. And plasmas aren't completely in the grave yet -- in fact, most of the biggest manufactures still sell plasmas including Panasonic, Samsung, LG, Hitachi, Pioneer, and Vizio. In fact, recently things have actually started to turn around for the PDP sector. The most notable trend is that the latest plasmas from Hitachi, Pioneer, LG, and Panasonic all pass the latest stringent Energy Star requirements of the 208-Watt "on mode" and less than 1-Watt "standby mode." And the market is showing this comeback as well which is indicated by the latest DisplaySearch report which showed that plasma sales grew by 37 percent year-over-year in the third quarter of 2008 -- in a time that is very hard time for any market to show growth.

So while no technology can be successful forever, plasma has at the very least a few years left, and we believe it won't be LCD that will kill it. The only technology that actually seems poised to replace it is OLED, and with the biggest (and only) consumer model at 11-inches, there is plenty of time left on the clock for plasmas. That being said, we only see two main markets for plasmas moving forward as LCDs continue to grow in size and shrink in price. The first being videophiles who demand the best contrast and color money can buy, and the second being value shoppers looking for a way to buy a 60-inch TV for as close to $2000 as possible. But with the latest LCD LED-backlit displays making huge strides in color and contrast, and Laser TVs hitting the streets, anyone who tells you they know what is going to happen in the next 18 to 24 months has no idea what they're talking about.