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Vizio is the latest manufacturer to drop plasma TV production

Vizio will abandon its plasma TV efforts so it can focus solely on its LCD TV line that helped give U.S. consumers another low-cost brand to choose from when shopping for a new TV.

Although the Vizio web site still shows several plasma models, the company didn't announce any new plasma units during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last month in Las Vegas.  If Vizio and Pioneer both exit the plasma TV market, then U.S. consumers will be left choosing from Samsung, Panasonic or LG Electronics.

Vizio's current plasma TV inventory is dwindling fast, so consumers interested in purchasing a Vizio-made plasma TV should likely hurry.

The news comes days after rumors surfaced indicating Pioneer will also abandon its plasma TV efforts so it can focus on LCDs.

Manufacturers are able to charge more for LCD TVs and can sell them much faster and easier than plasma TVs.  Furthermore, manufacturers are able to generate higher revenue from LCD TV sales, and shoppers interested in environmental friendly technology avoided plasma TVs in the past.

Moving forward, Vizio will focus on adding new features to its LCD line of TV models.  For example, Vizio is putting the finishing touches on its first LED-backlit LCD TV, which will be available in July -- it's a 55-inch model using 240Hz technology, and will cost $1,999.

Although it has carved out a niche market for itself as a low-priced TV manufacturer since its creation five years ago, Vizo understands that it must branch out and offer a wider variety of products.  Aside from TVs, Vizio plans to launch its first standalone Blu-ray player in May for $199, which will be significantly less than most other Blu-ray players available on the market today.

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Didn't even know...
By Murst on 2/11/2009 5:13:27 PM , Rating: 2
Vizio made plasma TVs...

I still love my panasonic plasma, but I do like that all of the LCDs weigh much less than a plasma TV of the same size ( my plasma also generates a lot of heat). The newer LCDs also are finally to match the plasmas in picture quality, so it wouldn't be surprising to see all manufacturers switch to LCD in the next year, unless some great new advance in plasma technology takes place.

RE: Didn't even know...
By Smartless on 2/11/2009 5:30:07 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah too bad. Although plasmas use more power, weigh more, and more costly to fix, I do love the picture. Oh well, plasmas go the way of the HD-DVD.

RE: Didn't even know...
By therealnickdanger on 2/12/2009 8:12:40 AM , Rating: 2
Oh well, plasmas go the way of the HD-DVD.


If Pioneer, Samsung, and Panasonic stop making plasmas, then you may make that comment. Plasma won't be going away for a while... God forbid our only choice is LCD... *shudder*

RE: Didn't even know...
By mholler on 2/12/2009 9:28:53 AM , Rating: 2
RE: Didn't even know...
By therealnickdanger on 2/12/2009 11:53:00 AM , Rating: 2
OK, so he's 1/3 correct. LOL

Wow, that really sucks! Well, it's up to Panny to carry the torch now!

RE: Didn't even know...
By Oregonian2 on 2/13/2009 4:19:48 AM , Rating: 2
Well, there still will be Pioneer plasmas, it's just they'll be Panasonic ones behind the label (and the Pioneer engineers went to Panasonic as part of the deal, so they'll have the Pioneer technology to add to their own).

RE: Didn't even know...
By Nfarce on 2/11/2009 5:38:03 PM , Rating: 4
The newer LCDs also are finally to match the plasmas in picture quality

That's debatable. I have both a Sammy 42" 720p plasma and a Sammy 46LN750 46" LCD. The plasma gives slightly better color representation and black blacks that the LCD can't quite match. My PS3 games also look better on the plasma. The LCD was a near top of the line model and winner of many websites like CNET last year and cost more than twice what I paid for the plasma.

With that said, plasmas have their drawbacks: I still worry about burn in on the plasma and don't leave the PS3 on it for long; it produces a LOT of heat - good in winter, bad in summer; it uses a LOT more power than the LCD.

Both have their pros & cons, but performance wise, plasma still offers the best bang for the buck over a high end LCD which is really the only thing close to matching plasma performance. It still doesn't change the fact however that the writing is on the wall for plasma technology's ultimate demise. Shame, because Panasonic's Viera 1080p 85 series plasmas are killer performers for what you pay ($1,000 for the 42", $1,200 for the 46").

RE: Didn't even know...
By Nfarce on 2/11/2009 5:42:09 PM , Rating: 2
Oops, I meant to say the Sammy LCD is the 1080p model 46A750...

RE: Didn't even know...
By Murst on 2/11/2009 6:14:35 PM , Rating: 2
BTW, I didn't mean to imply that all plasmas used to be better in picture quality than all LCDs. Certainly, if you got a low end 720p plasma, the picture quality would probably be much worse than most 1080p ( if not all ) LCDs and the upper-end 720p LCDs.

However, when you look at the top of the line plasmas ( like the Kuro ), it had a picture quality that was pretty much unmatched by anything else out there. Now, however, new LCD models with LED backlighting are coming out that do in fact appear to match the PQ of the Kuro plasma ( this info I got from reviews... I don't have a Pioneer Kuro or a LED backlight LCD ).

Even 1.5 years ago though, when I got my Panny 50PZ800U, I was unable to find anything in the LCDs market that would approach the PQ of this plasma. This does not appear to be the case with LCDs anymore.

RE: Didn't even know...
By Nfarce on 2/11/2009 8:03:20 PM , Rating: 5
Well that's certainly true, but have you priced those high end LED LCDs? The Sony XBR8 46" runs around $4,700 =:-o , and the much less expensive 46" LED from Samsung is the 46A950 and still goes for $2,600 which is still more than twice the Panny 46" Viera 85U plasma.

I guess my point wasn't clear: you can sure get close to plasma performance with LCDs, but to do it you have to pay through the nose and out the @ss.

RE: Didn't even know...
By therealnickdanger on 2/12/2009 8:21:13 AM , Rating: 2
Right, that's what most consumers don't understand. They hear "LCDs are cheaper" and "LCDs offer similar picture quality", however, those never go hand in hand. LCDs that offer "near-plasma" quality are typically more expensive than the plasma they are competing against.

I've owned several LCDs and plasmas (and DLPs) of varying price tiers, and plasma just always looks best to me. If you could quantify picture quality, no doubt in my mind that plasma would offer a better quality/price than any LCD. I'm always waiting to be proven wrong.

C'mon SED! LOL

RE: Didn't even know...
By Spuke on 2/12/2009 3:41:27 PM , Rating: 2
LCDs offer similar picture quality
LCD's Do offer similar picture quality of Plasma's. I suppose you have to define similar. For your average consumer that's not going to calibrate their TV, similar is "ummm... that TV there looks about as good as that one over there. You know what Patricia? My friend, TV show, news anchor, cousin, magazine article said that LCD's were similar in PQ as Plasma's. Let's just get the LCD. Besides it's on sale." And so on and so on until TV manufacturers start bailing on the Plasma market.

RE: Didn't even know...
By chrnochime on 2/11/2009 10:10:37 PM , Rating: 2
No the 46A750 is more like upper-mid model. There is 850 and 950 which both use LED backlight and have noticeable improvement on IQ, compared to the 750. BTW 850 and 950 both came out shortly after(or around the same time) the 750 was released.
Not saying the 750 is bad(I too, have one), but I know it's not near top of the line.

RE: Didn't even know...
By Nfarce on 2/11/2009 11:22:37 PM , Rating: 2
Correct, today the 750 series is upper-mid tier. But it was considered an upper end series last February when I paid $2,300 for it (the first month they were available on Amazon). The 850 didn't come out until August last year and the only real difference is that it has a thinner bezel and it swivels (whoopee). Further, you are incorrect about the 850 being LED lit. It does not use LED backlighting. The 950 also came out in August last year and is LED. It was also listed for a helluva lot more than either of the other two at $3,499 at that time vs. $2,699 for the 850 and about $2,100 for the 750 during that period. But I still stand by my original point: you have to spend a LOT more on a decent LCD to match a plasma's performance and PQ.

RE: Didn't even know...
By Nfarce on 2/11/2009 11:45:09 PM , Rating: 2
Correction: I bought the 750 in April last year from Amazon, the first month they came out (I bought my Sammy plasma in February of 2007 from Amazon). Damn, can't even keep up with the years and what I bought any more LOL.

RE: Didn't even know...
By Oregonian2 on 2/13/2009 4:25:57 AM , Rating: 2
Burn-in is long gone for most people (at least in Panasonics and watching only "regular" TV which is the predominant use) and short screen life (another historical weakness) is gone as well (my 2007 model is rated 100,000 hours to the 50% brightness point which is the standard measure).

Not sure about the wall's writing. Death of the Plasma is usually based upon the LCD's getting better, but that the Plasmas are also getting better . Plasmas are going down in power and in price and even higher in quality.

RE: Didn't even know...
By ICE1966 on 2/22/2009 5:27:15 PM , Rating: 2
It's really sad that lcd seems to be getting the market. I have a panasonic plasma that I bought simply because it looked better than any of the newest lcd's sitting right beside it at the store. I have yet to see a lcd that does not have a certian level of what I call graininess to them. My 50inch 1080p plasma looks better than any lcd I could actually watch at the store, and I bought it. it does not seem to generate that much heat as I thoguht it would, and the picture with a bluray rivels any lcd I saw. I'm about to get me a panasonic 42inch 1080p plasma for my computer to replace my lcd that I have now. I can hardly wait, I know it will look amazing.

What the heck are they talking about?
By repatch on 2/11/2009 5:12:27 PM , Rating: 4
Aside from TVs, Vizio plans to launch its first standalone Blu-ray player in May for $199, which will be significantly less than most other Blu-ray players available on the market today.

Whaaaaaa??? I was in Costco today, Samsung BluRay player for $179CND($145USD), not even a special.

The ~$200 market for BluRay players is well established. I can even get a Sony BluRay player for $239CND($192USD), and that's regular price. To say $199 is significantly less then most players is inaccurate.

I think this article is using figures from over a year ago.

RE: What the heck are they talking about?
By Murst on 2/11/2009 5:16:13 PM , Rating: 5
So you provided 2 examples of BR players that cost less than 200... I can provide you with a lot of examples of BR players costing over 200. The most statement does seem appropriate.

RE: What the heck are they talking about?
By HaZaRd2K6 on 2/11/2009 6:58:36 PM , Rating: 2
And you can buy a DVD player for under $50 these days, but I can still show you several models that cost more than ten times that amount.

Just because it exists does not make it the norm.

RE: What the heck are they talking about?
By Murst on 2/11/2009 7:32:39 PM , Rating: 2
Is the word "most" really that hard to understand?

It simply means "more than half".

Or are you really trying to argue that more than half of all currently available blu-ray player models can be bought for under $200?

RE: What the heck are they talking about?
By repatch on 2/12/2009 4:24:25 PM , Rating: 2
To me, "most" means "more then half sold". It doesn't matter what is actually on the market, nothing stops a company from way overpricing a piece of kit. You can still buy DVD players that cost $1000 or more, the volume though is probably at the $50 mark.

Do you seriously think "most" consumers are going to buy those $500+ BD players? Obviously no. "Most" consumers are going to buy the <$200 players, of which I only listed two, there are several more, I saw another 2 at Walmart for less then $200USD.

Also, my prices are REGULAR prices, I'm ignoring sales. Wouldn't you agree that "most" consumers tend to try and purchase stuff while it's on sale?

I guess my real point is a <$200 BD player is NOT news anymore, a year ago perhaps, these days, big woop.

By Murst on 2/12/2009 5:54:18 PM , Rating: 2
This is quite silly, but I'll entertain you with one more post.

I think the majority of consumers will buy their BR Players from companies like Best Buy, Walmart, Target, and Sears. So, for reference, here is a summary of all BR players, their price ranges, and how many of those players fall under $200. The prices are from their websites, and you're more than welcome to check on them to verify.

Best Buy
17 BR Players ( $230 - $2000 )
0 BR Players under $200

8 BR Players ( $198 - $500 )
1 BR Player under $200

4 BR Players ( $199.99 - $490 )
1 BR Player under $200

6 BR Players ( $199.88 - $400 )
1 BR Player under $200

Now... if you sum that up, it appears there are 3 out of possible 35 BR players for sale at those merchants which are under $200. Therefore, it means that more than 90% of the players are actually over $200. If you think that 90% of something doesn't qualify to be described as "most", there's not much more I can do. Have a nice day.

By Murst on 2/12/2009 6:02:17 PM , Rating: 2
To me, "most" means "more then half sold"

Forgot to address this in my previous post, but if you think that more than half of all BR players sold are in the sub-$200 range, you're crazy. The most common BR player on the market ( and it probably still has over 50% marketshare ) is the PS3, and I have never seen the price of a PS3 even come close to the $200 mark.

By MPE on 2/11/2009 5:32:08 PM , Rating: 3
Price quotes like these are MSRP. Big retailers can often go below that.

By knightspawn1138 on 2/12/2009 3:58:16 PM , Rating: 2
I think that the BluRay player market is hitting that important $200 mark (and below) which is where DVD had to get before it became the dominant option to replace VHS. As long as the average Joe can find a sub-$200 set-top BD-ROM player, the market will shift from DVD to BD-ROM quickly. The big players that want to make money need to be ready with a full range of BD-ROM parts to stay competitive. That means that we'll start seeing good competition in the $200 range that will drive prices even lower.

Look at the prices for BD-ROM drives for PC's. 1 year ago, the cheapest BD-ROM drives were still in the $500-700 price range. Right now you can get a Sony BD-ROM for under $100.

hold on
By semo on 2/11/2009 5:10:35 PM , Rating: 2
what's going to happen to pioneer's kuro range? i know panasonic makes the panels but there will still be less competition.

RE: hold on
By tank171 on 2/11/2009 6:26:01 PM , Rating: 3
Id like to see any article from a respectable website that says that Pioneer will no longer be selling plasmas in the near future. These rumors are from a really long time ago when Poineer anounced that they are selling their plasma panel making plant. They will still be making plasma tvs, they just wont be manufacturing the glass part (they are outsourcing this to panny). Most of what sets them apart are their circuitry in their displays, so they will still likely be the best even with panny glass.

RE: hold on
By bigboxes on 2/11/2009 9:06:16 PM , Rating: 2
Very true. I've heard nothing to those rumors. Pioneer just doesn't make the panel. They still make TVs. The best out there IMHO. Wish I could afford one. :)

RE: hold on
By jajig on 2/12/2009 6:15:56 AM , Rating: 2
Here you go

Japanese electronics giant Pioneer said it would cut 10,000 jobs worldwide and quit the television business today, as it braces for a record loss in the year to March. The company is closing its plasma display production facilities in the United States and Britain and will focus on car electronics instead. Pioneer forecast a net loss of 130 billion yen ($2.2 billion) for the current financial year to March, its biggest ever. The firm decided last year to stop making its own plasma display panels and fit its televisions with panels bought from Panasonic instead. But it has now decided to stop making televisions altogether because "there are no prospects for improving profitability under current conditions," a company statement said. The group had already cut 5,900 jobs between March and December 2008.

Plasma not going away yet
By nowayout99 on 2/11/2009 6:19:24 PM , Rating: 3
Panasonic is the primary manufacturer for a new line of 2009 plasma panels that consume half the electricity of last year's models, and the more aggressive models also weigh half as much and are as little as 1" thin. These things are due to the new 5 lumen technology.

Plus blacker blacks and all that other standard good stuff.

In 2011, the 10 lumen tech should be going online which will cut the power consumption in half again. It's plasma's last stand against LCD for marketshare.

So plasmas aren't going anywhere... yet. We'll see in 2 years.

RE: Plasma not going away yet
By srp49ers on 2/11/2009 8:19:04 PM , Rating: 2
yup, I heard about this as well. Might sell my Panny and get the new ones. Less power and deeper blacks and the same amazing picture quality, whats not to like. Panasonic has invested tons of money into plasma manufacturing to just let it die.

RE: Plasma not going away yet
By Oregonian2 on 2/13/2009 4:30:40 AM , Rating: 2
And I thank them for it. When we're watching our 2007 model 58" Panny 1080P plasma (PZ something 750U), it's more like being at the theatre than "TV".

Samsung is getting out of DLP business
By Belard on 2/11/2009 5:41:31 PM , Rating: 2
While Samsung has pioneered DLP, the cost of manufacturing and repairs on their DLP TVs is costing them tons of money.

So eventually, our choices will only be LCDs... until OLEDs become better and cheaper.

By Plugers on 2/11/2009 9:21:36 PM , Rating: 2
SED should rule all. If it ever comes to market

By Oregonian2 on 2/13/2009 4:34:56 AM , Rating: 2
DLP's I think have been on the way out for some time now. Basic problem is that they're pretty deep physically compared to LCDs and Plasmas. Futzing between three inches thick and one inch isn't a big deal, but the DLP's are quite a bit deeper than that. The new laser light sources replacing the bulb sources should extend their popularity for a little while though (Mitsubishi's I think).

Plasma > LCD
By ZimZum on 2/11/2009 9:46:00 PM , Rating: 2
Every metric you want to use to compare the two in picture quality. Plasma wins. Contrast ratio, response time, refresh rate, color reproduction etc. Not to mention Plasmas are usually cheaper than similar sized LCD to boot. LCDs have other advantages they use less power, last longer, produce less heat. But I'll take a plasma any day.

RE: Plasma > LCD
By Oregonian2 on 2/13/2009 4:37:13 AM , Rating: 2
Don't know about the last longer part. My 58PZ750U (2007 model) is rated 100,000 hours. Don't think having screens rated longer than that would matter (assuming LCDs are rated longer than that).

By johnnyMon on 2/11/2009 5:40:47 PM , Rating: 2
After living with my Panasonic 50PZ800U for the past 6 months, I would be very bummed if I could not buy another plasma if I needed a new TV soon.

Yes they're heavier (mine is around 85 lbs for 50"), and they make somewhat more heat. But they have a more natural-appearing picture with more depth. LCDs can appear very sharp on a static scene, but they always look a bit like they're computer monitors, and the viewing angles suffer.

OLED will take over both as soon as they solve the blue pixel aging issue. I hope they will be even better than a good plasma.

By g35fan on 2/12/2009 12:25:57 AM , Rating: 2
Bummer I suppose but inevitable. They just can't screw consumers out of as much money as they can with LCD's. I'll take my budget mid range Hitachi plasma over any high end LCD - until the true 120hz versions come out so I can play some games in 3D ;)

By mrdeez on 2/12/09, Rating: 0
RE: Plasma>lcd
By Oregonian2 on 2/13/2009 4:44:04 AM , Rating: 2
Doubt the majors made them. Visio plasmas I looked a while ago for my mother-in-law had disappointing reviews, very low pixel resolution screens and seemed to be designed to be as absolutely cheap as possible. May have been better than LCD's similarly priced (low end LCDs can be pretty bad compared with the less-low ones too). Visio just couldn't make that which takes a bit more expertise for a quality product. I suspect theirs were made by one of the "others" one sees in sales charts. Those named "asterisk". :-)

LCD will never match Plasma
By viperpa on 2/13/2009 1:00:18 AM , Rating: 2
I bought a Vizio plasma 32" to replace a 32" Viewsonic LCD that I use to own. I would have to say the Viewsonic couldn't even match the Vizio picture quality.

They are not selling true picture quality with a LCD. True they have come a long way to match Plasma picture quality but will never exactly match it unless new, cheaper technology comes out.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
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