Time to say goodbye to plasma TV

Time to say goodbye to plasma TV
Curved 4K OLED televisions are displayed at the LG Electronics booth during the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) at Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada in this January 7, 2014 file photo.

The lifespan of plasma TVs, or plasma display panel TVs, which once mesmerized consumers with their thin, flat displays and crisp picture quality, is nearing its end, as the world's leading TV makers, including Panasonic and Samsung, have announced a halt in production.

The transition in the TV market from plasma to next-generation LCD or OLED TVs has gained steam since Japanese TV maker Panasonic announced its exit from the PDP business last October.

Industry watchers officially declared the end of the plasma TV era when Samsung said it would follow suit last week.

Samsung SDI, a Korean battery and PDP maker, said this month that it had decided to pull the plug on the PDP division in November this year. Instead, it will focus more on the promising battery and materials businesses.

The announcement caused a ripple effect throughout the global TV industry.

Clover Hitech and Phoenix Materials, Samsung SDI's suppliers for PDP, saw their stock prices drop by 5.36 per cent and 9.92 per cent, respectively, a day after the announcement of the end of supply deals with the battery business arm of Samsung Group last week.

Deals with Samsung SDI accounted for 26 per cent of Phoenix Materials' annual revenue of 580 billion won last year.

Samsung plasma TVs will still be sold on the market for a while as Samsung Electronics, a consumer electronics business arm of Samsung Group, said it would continue its PDP TV business until the end of this year due to changes in market demands.

Many industry reports indicate, however, the plasma TV era is surely coming to close.

The volume of shipment of PDP TVs will decrease from 54 million this year to 18 million next year, according to DisplaySearch, a leading display market research institute.

A recent report released by market research firm IHS showed that the number of PDP TVs shipped during the first quarter stood at 2 million, down 16 per cent from the same period last year.

On the other hand, shipment for LCD TVs stood at 47.4 million units in the first three months this year.

Reflecting the changing demand for TVs, other major TV makers, such as LG Electronics, are expected to soon stop producing PDP TVs as well. LG will turn its eyes to the growing OLED TV business.

Ha Hyun-hwoi, the president of the electronics firm's home entertainment company, said earlier this year that LG will be betting big on OLED TVs this year.

DisplaySearch, a global TV market researcher, said the sales of OLED TVs will grow from 5,000 units in 2013 to 4 million in 2017.

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