The Complete Plasma Television Guide Plasma TVs: Delivering more for less

What are the features to look for when planning a plasma TV purchase, how should you install a Plasma HDTV, and what can you do to protect your plasma TV investment?

What are the basic operational principles behind plasma displays? Are there any differences in the picture between plasma, LCD, and LED TVs – what are the pros and cons of the different technologies? What about getting answers to some of the most FAQs about plasma TVs?

We answer these and more in the articles appearing under this Plasma TV Guide! We are also presenting reviews of some of the latest plasma TVs to help you discover which plasma HDTV suits you best.

Many have seen the big picture and it is still a plasma TV, but… for how long?

Panasonic VIERA 55-inch TC-P55ST60

Way back in early 2009, Pioneer and Vizio moved out of the plasma TV market. With just three major plasma display makers left — LG, Panasonic, and Samsung —many soon started proclaiming that plasma is dead.

Yet more than four years down the line, plasma HDTV technology is still alive and remains the display technology of choice among those who really care about picture quality. But for how long?

As further detailed in an article we recently published on our site, 2013 seems to indicate that we are witnessing the beginning of the end of the plasma television era.

This is not because there is some immediate alternative to plasma’s display quality and affordability – because there isn’t such an alternative option yet – but simply because the plasma TV market has shrunk to a level that is becoming not feasible for the TV manufacturing industry. It is therefore no surprise that 2013 has brought about the smallest plasma television lineup we have ever seen during these last years. We sincerely find it hard to understand why many keep preferring LCD over plasma television when the latter can deliver a much better picture for less.

The good news is that for those in the market for a plasma TV, plasma display technology have reached the pinnacle in picture quality; if the industry were to stop with its plasma development now, the latest premium and flagship plasma televisions from Samsung and Panasonic may very well end being used as ‘reference TVs’ for many years to come. Both the Panasonic ZT60 and the Samsung F8500 series HDTVs have more than enough potential to de-throne the Pioneer Kuro Elite PRO, the TV that so far remained king of picture quality years after Pioneer left the plasma TV market.

Some may argue that OLED is the way to go but… the new 65-inch TC-P65ZT60 is expected to be selling at under $3,500, while the equivalent 64-inch PN64F8500 Samsung flagship plasma TV is presently selling online for under $3,400; these prices are a far cry from the $12,000 required to get hold of the LG 55-inch OLED TV.

And what if you are looking for something cheaper? Well, there is a plasma TV for you as well! The new Panasonic ST60 series is the first TV series to ever gain a five-star rating at Cnet reviews, representing superb picture quality at a most affordable price. Suffice to note that the 55-inch TC-P55ST60 Panasonic plasma TV is among the top selling plasma TVs from 2013 thanks to a price tag ($1,350) that is well within reach of the average household budget.

Even cheaper are entry-level 60-inch 1080p plasma TVs from Samsung, Panasonic and LG, with the Samsung PN60F5300 selling at $950, the Panasonic TC-P60S60 selling for $1,200 and LG’s 60PN6500 selling at $950. It is true that these are bare-bones HDTVs but here we are talking about 60-inch 1080p HDTVs selling for under $1,000! Up t a few years ago, it would have been possible to enjoy a 50-inch HDTV at this price bracket, least imagine a 60-inch. And you are not only getting a massive TV but also a great picture that is much better than that of the significantly more expensive LED TVs.

Unfortunately for all those who care about picture quality, things look rather hazy beyond 2014. Panasonic has already confirmed that it will stop plasma TV production in December 2013, and end all plasma TV business activities by the end March 2014. And with Panasonic moving out of the plasma TV market by 2014, we see no reason why Samsung and LG would not follow suit.

Luckily for videophiles and home theater enthusiast looking for the best affordable picture, there is also a silver lining. We are at time when plasma display technology has reached the pinnacle in TV picture quality. Rather, 2013 models seem to have registered a level of picture quality that is by far ahead that supported by LED TVs. If for whatever reason, you have been holding back from buying yourself a plasma TV — hoping for a better picture or lower pricing — we say this may be your last chance to enjoy what the very best in display technology has to offer today. Whether it is a flagship or a bare-bones model, plasma display performance still leads that of more expensive LED TVs.

The SIMPLE Truth… Plasma delivers much more for less!

Samsung’s Flagship Plasma TV

Plasma HDTVs still continue to deliver more screen estate for your dollar, but not only. Discerning consumers continue to appreciate the strengths of plasma over LCD such as the deeper black levels and its ability to display subtle shadow detail in predominantly dark content.

In addition, plasma’s superior smooth motion, excellent screen uniformity, and an off-angle viewing performance that does not exhibit deterioration in the perceived image contrast as one moves off axis, are aspects of picture performance no LCD or LED TV has so far managed to attain.

In particular, plasma’s deep shade of black and its capability to render subtle shadow detail make plasma televisions the best choice for use in the home theater; it is the display technology that is capable of delivering the best cinematic picture.

Despite the much touting by LCD TV makers about their latest and greatest LED TVs, the best plasma televisions continue to have the upper hand when it comes to a stable deep shade of black. This is a most important picture quality parameter as it helps render better those difficult-to-define quality attributes like picture depth, scene detail — especially in television and movie scenes where lots of dark and light content is shown simultaneously — and color richness, more specifically the perceived color saturation.

Indirectly, a better black level also leads to better rendering of picture contrast. Plasma TV reviews published on various sites continue to show that even the latest premium LED TVs find it hard to beat their significantly less expensive plasma televisions counterparts.

Equally important, plasma televisions are capable of smooth motion when handling fast action content thanks to a pixel response that is a thousand times faster than that of the latest LCDs. This also makes plasma TVs the primary choice for sports fans looking for the best blur-free motion.

It is worth taking note that plasma’s superior picture performance is not just a matter of 2D. The advent of 3D TV has once again confirmed plasma’s picture quality dominance over LCD even when it comes to displaying the third dimension! 3D plasma TVs offer solid 3D image performance with hardly any 3D image crosstalk in contrast to 3D LED TVs. This affects the 3D image detail, leading to a subtle double image effect that may at times become annoying with some 3D content; for more information on 3D TV image crosstalk, please refer to our 3D TV FAQs article.

This superiority is not a merit of some brand but arise out of plasma’s superfast pixel response time, one that is much faster than that of the fastest LED LCD TVs!

And yes… there is more in favor of plasma televisions!

The latest plasma televisions have narrowed the gap between plasma and LCD TVs in the areas of image brightness and power consumption. Up to very recently, these were areas that rendered CCFL LCD and LED TVs the exclusive choice if you wanted a TV for use under bright lighting, or one with a low power consumption.

The latest plasma display panels have a much brighter image than previous models, one that is bright enough for viewing in bright room conditions; and if there is one model that the latest plasma TV reviews prove to excel in this respect, this is the Samsung PNF8500 flagship plasma television series.

We are not saying that plasma televisions are more energy efficient than LCD TVs; in particular nothing beats an edge backlit LED LCD TV for its low power consumption. Energy usage for the latest LED TVs is typically 60 percent of similar size plasma HDTVs. At the same time, we cannot but remark that with the latest developments in plasma display technology, power consumption is no longer an issue in choosing between these two technologies.

This power issue has long been a seller for LCDs over plasma, inasmuch as plasma’s reputation for burn-in. The latter is more an issue of the past, something not worth worrying about anymore, even though we always advice to manage your content to ensure you avoid burn-in (no matter how small the possibility of such an occurrence is).

There is no denying; plasma delivers more for less! It is the best all-rounder display technology and the primary choice among those looking for the best picture, irrespective of whether it is for use in the home theater, sports and gaming, or just about anyone who wants a big screen TV for general viewing.

The bottom line: Irrespective for how long the plasma television industry will survive, plasma still represents the most viable HDTV display technology — as yet, there is no alternative display technology capable of plasma’s superior picture at an equally affordable price. Yes, OLED TVs are capable of a superior picture but these are expected to sell at a price that is out of reach of at least 95% of the average household budget.

Ass stated earlier on, if you have been holding back from buying yourself a plasma TV, this is surely the time to enjoy a great plasma television; it may be your last chance to enjoy what the very best in display technology has to offer today!

The plasma television guides and product reviews appearing under this section aim at providing you will all the necessary information to make your plasma television selection process bit easier. A detailed index appears hereunder.

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