Posted by: Tony Carson | 3 September, 2007

Is plasma toast?

Last year, four times as many LCD TVs as plasma TVs were sold, according to this AP article (from which the following are notes), which predicts that ratio will leap to seven to one this year, as LCD encroaches on plasma’s traditional territory of larger screens.

Plasma, a self-illuminating system, uses electricity to excite tiny pockets of gases sandwiched between two panes of glass to produce light, giving natural-looking images with high contrast that look good from different viewing angles.

LCD is backlit and its crystals produce colors by blocking varying amounts of light. It is generally more energy efficient than plasma and can be powered by batteries, making it widely used in phone and digital camera displays.

Makers of all kinds of TVs are locked in a price war, and plasma makers are under more pressure than ever as LCD makers advance on their territory of higher-margin large screens.

Wada said he believed prices for TVs with screens of 37 inches and above would fall by 30 percent this year and about the same next year.

ISuppli forecasts total global plasma screen revenues will peak next year at $10.2 billion.

Hiro Wada, who is in charge of planning for visual products and display devices at Panasonic, said he believed plasma could maintain a share of at least 30 percent of the market for flat-screen TVs bigger than 37 inches in the medium term.

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