Following on from Panasonic’s lead, Samsung is also about to lay plasma TV to rest. A news piece from Reuters this week reported that Samsung is shuttering its plasma display panel (PDP) business due to declining demand, and will instead focus its efforts on building 4K UHD (ultra high-definition) TVs.
Samsung isn’t going to deliver the coup de grâce immediately, but it will do very soon. The South Korean manufacturer is set to end plasma production on the 30th of November, which means plasma lovers should still be able to snap one up until just before Christmas.
Another report in the Korea Herald also lays the blame on falling demand for plasmas. “While reusable facilities and parts from the PDP production lines will be utilised for the battery business, others will be sold to other firms for cash,” Samsung’s Lee Seung-jun told the paper.
In fairness, Samsung’s decision to drop plasma has been expected ever since Panasonic killed off its own plasma unit. A company executive told CNet back in January that he didn’t believe plasma has a future beyond 2014, citing the difficulties in making 4K versions. It’s also notable that Samsung didn’t even release a new high-end plasma model in the UK and Europe this year, choosing to stick with its existing F8500 series from 2013 instead.
Samsung’s exit means that LG Electronics is now the sole surviving producer of PDPs. Sadly, it might not be so for long, as it’s reported that Korea’s number two electronics giant is also thinking about ditching plasma. It says that LG has already converted one of its plasma display production lines to make solar-powered batteries – not exactly conclusive evidence, but definitely an ominous sign of plasma’s impending doom.
The news will come as a serious blow to lovers of awesome picture quality (which includes many of our readers). The great hope of course is that OLED will finally take off and rescue us all from a bleak, depressing future of only having LED LCD televisions to choose from. OLED might yet be our savior – good ol’ LG is making some progress there – but it’s probably some way off as manufacturing problems ensure that every OLED TV to hit the shelves comes with a not-so-affordable price tag.