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post #1 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 07:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Samsung Pulls Plug on Plasma Production



Say it ain't so! The Curse of the Kuro strikes yet again. Samsung plans to end plasma panel production by November 30, 2014, marking the end of an era.

------

According to Reuters UK, Samsung SDI Corp. is exiting the plasma business. It's a very short article that lists November 30th as the target date for the shutdown. In the Reuters piece, a statement from Samsung blames the decision on a decline in demand for plasma displays. Last year, Samsung's own UNxxF8500 plasma line was often cited as one of the best-performing TVs ever made, whereas the curved screen LED-edgelit LCD UHDTVs taking its place are an unknown quantity.

Read the original article here: Samsung SDI says to end plasma panel display production - Reuters UK

It's only been a few days since I went to a local Best Buy and saw Samsung's new curved-screen TVs going up on a wall. Over to the side, I saw a 64-inch Samsung UN64F8500 plasma on open-box clearance. I bought it immediately because just a few days earlier at CE Week in NYC, a Samsung exec told me that the F8500 was going to start to become "hard to find." Since I had already missed out on buying a Panasonic plasma in 2013, I did not want to take any chances—the enduring fame of Pioneer's Kuro plasma is a lesson in how each successive year does not necessarily bring an even-better performing television to market.


When I saw this display go up at a local Best Buy last week, I knew it was the beginning of the end for Samsung plasma.

It's entirely possible that Samsung's decision to end plasma panel production will truly spell the end for the original flat-screen TV technology. LG is the last major TV manufacturer that has not announced an end to plasma production; however, given the current industry trends it's likely that day is not far away. The irony is plasma image quality kept getting better and better but each time a TV maker set a new performance benchmark, it turned out to be the kiss of death for the product line. It happened to Pioneer, Panasonic, and now Samsung. At this point, I'm just glad I found a reference plasma when I did.

I sincerely hope that FALD LCDs and OLED displays can fill plasma's shoes. The new generation of TVs will be more energy efficient, larger, and boast higher resolutions than what plasma offered. Unfortunately, it might take a few years before another display technology matures to the point where it offers the same price/performance ratio achieved by reference plasma HDTVs. Hopefully OLED will become more affordable in the near future; for now, it's a sad day for videophiles who appreciate what plasma has to offer in terms of picture quality.

Here's a recent article I wrote about how I wound up buying a plasma this year, despite all the new LED-lit LCDs on the market: Why I Bought a Plasma HDTV in 2014

Check out this discussion in the Plasma Flat Panel Displays forum: Samsung makes it official

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Last edited by imagic; 07-01-2014 at 02:49 PM.
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post #2 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 07:25 AM
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Just out of curiosity, what was the good price you got on the f8500? They were still very pricey last time I looked.
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post #3 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 07:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattopotamus View Post
Just out of curiosity, what was the good price you got on the f8500? They were still very pricey last time I looked.
Here it is!


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post #4 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 07:36 AM
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Here it is!

WOW! I would have snatch that up in a second. Usually their open box is at most 10% off.
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post #5 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 07:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattopotamus View Post
WOW! I would have snatch that up in a second. Usually their open box is at most 10% off.
At this point, anyone who's interested in one had better act fast. If you look at what happened to Panasonic's VT60 and ZT60, after that company ceased production the price went up! I'm curious whether the same thing will happen with the F8500.

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post #6 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 08:01 AM
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At a round table meeting at CES 2011 in Las Vegas, Samsung executives adressed questions from the press regarding current and future plans for consumer electronics products.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bpbs
Samsung said that they expect to remain in the Plasma business for at least 10 years


Samsung executives at the CES round table (left to right): Kevin Lee, VP, Smart TV Partnerships; Bong-Ku Kang,
SVP, Product Marketing Group; Hyo-Gun Lee, VP, Software Group R&D Team; John Revie, SVP,
Home Entertainment.
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post #7 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 08:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Kuro-heads, ZT60-heads, and now F8500-heads

Quote:
Originally Posted by 8mile13 View Post
At a round table meeting at CES 2011 in Las Vegas, Samsung executives adressed questions from the press regarding current and future plans for consumer electronics products.



Samsung executives at the CES round table (left to right): Kevin Lee, VP, Smart TV Partnerships; Bong-Ku Kang,
SVP, Product Marketing Group; Hyo-Gun Lee, VP, Software Group R&D Team; John Revie, SVP,
Home Entertainment.
That bit of optimism is history, along with Samsung's OLED offering. Evidently going all-in on oversized, curved, edgelit, UHD LCDs is the power move. Family TVs for the living room drive the market, and having the biggest curved screens for the lowest price looks like the chosen path.

It's a bit mind-blowing, considering how incredible the UN64F8500 is, I did not expect it to calibrate so perfectly, and look so good. Soon, I'm going to sound like those Kuro-heads that people in the LCD forums make fun of.
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post #8 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 08:13 AM
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Sigh. Looks like plasma is becoming the Betamax / HD-DVD of the TV world. Glad I got a Panasonic P60ST60 last fall. Hope it lasts a long time.
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post #9 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 08:22 AM
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Plasma didn't lose a "format war" with an equal. it had a product lifespan and is being replaced by newer (albeit not necessarily better) technology.

Think of the decline of vinyl and cassette/8 track

Beta and HD DVD lost out to a perceived "equal".
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post #10 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 08:30 AM
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Are there recent plasma sales figures? I can't imagine they're very good, especially how they compare in bright showroom conditions. LCDs are probably much better for the average consumer that watches in a normally illuminated room and uses the vivid setting with raised sharpness. They don't need to be cautious about burns.
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post #11 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCCaniac View Post
Sigh. Looks like plasma is becoming the Betamax / HD-DVD of the TV world. Glad I got a Panasonic P60ST60 last fall. Hope it lasts a long time.
I don't think those are good comparisons. More like the 8-tracks perhaps. Betamax and HD-DVD were both techs that came out around the same time as a competing tech and lost the marketing war and never saw major consumer adoption. Plasma had its time in the sun as the primary consumer flat screen tech for a while.
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post #12 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 08:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVOD View Post
Are there recent plasma sales figures? I can't imagine they're very good, especially how they compare in bright showroom conditions. LCDs are probably much better for the average consumer that watches in a normally illuminated room and uses the vivid setting with raised sharpness. They don't need to be cautious about burns.
It's hard to argue with that. Nothing like choosing vivid mode, cranking up the sharpness, turning on overscan plus motion interpolation, and throwing open the window shades... it's time to watch some TV!

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post #13 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 08:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post
That bit of optimism is history, along with Samsung's OLED offering. Evidently going all-in on oversized, curved, edgelit, UHD LCDs is the power move. Family TVs for the living room drive the market, and having the biggest curved screens for the lowest price looks like the chosen path.

It's a bit mind-blowing, considering how incredible the UN64F8500 is, I did not expect it to calibrate so perfectly, and look so good. Soon, I'm going to sound like those Kuro-heads that people in the LCD forums make fun of.
How is the buzz on yours? That is really my only complain. It is easily the loudest plasma I have owned. Eco mode on low helped, but it is actually distracting.
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post #14 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 08:39 AM
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Quote:
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Beta and HD DVD lost out to a perceived "equal".
A bit of a tangent, but I didn't think Beta was that much better than VHS, but Super VHS was better and the tapes were cheap if one put the hole in the shell on standard tapes. Funny how the Beta form survived in professional formats even to today, though tape usage is declining.
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post #15 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 08:41 AM - Thread Starter
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How is the buzz on yours? That is really my only complain. It is easily the loudest plasma I have owned. Eco mode on low helped, but it is actually distracting.
I have not heard it buzz at all from my usual seven-foot viewing distance.
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post #16 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 09:02 AM
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From a consumer's perspective, the timing of this decision sucks. As things are now, it is still unclear whether or not the flagship 2014 FALD models from Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, or (possibly) Vizio have surpassed the F8500 plasma in overall PQ. I have not heard any consensus that the Samsung HU9000, nor any of the other edge-lit TV's currently available from any manufacturer, has superior PQ to the F8500. As a result, we are forced to take a gamble...assume that they are not better and buy an F8500 now or assume that they are better and wait until they become available. By the time that happens, it might be impossible to find an F8500. I would have been much more comfortable making this decision if the announcement had come after VE's next shootout (assuming that the FALD models from at least Sony, Panasonic, and Toshiba are included in it).

I wonder if they will pull the F8500 from the shootout given that it might not be a real purchase option by the time the shootout results are released. On the one hand, if they can show that the F8500's PQ has been surpassed then that could push current plasma owners to upgrade (good for the tv industry and retailers of high-end 4K LCD's in particular). On the other hand, if the F8500 wins, that could drive folks who need a new TV to ebay for used/refurbished plasmas, while reinforcing current plasma owners' decision to stick with what they have.
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post #17 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
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It's hard to argue with that. Nothing like choosing vivid mode, cranking up the sharpness, turning on overscan plus motion interpolation, and throwing open the window shades... it's time to watch some TV!
Why not just take it outside as well?
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post #18 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 09:08 AM
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I would bet LG will follow suit sometime this year. 2014, the year plasma died.
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post #19 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 09:08 AM
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A very sad day for videophiles but it was clearly coming. Oh well, until OLEDs are "perfected" and sold at reasonable price points, I'll very happily watch my VT60. I watched The Hobbit Extended Edition over the weekend and it was stunning on the Panny.
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post #20 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 09:11 AM
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Well, I enjoy my 850 series from 2010. Till I pull the trigger on something 4k it will have to do.
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post #21 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 09:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HockeyoAJB View Post
I wonder if they will pull the F8500 from the shootout given that it might not be a real purchase option by the time the shootout results are released. On the one hand, if they can show that the F8500's PQ has been surpassed then that could push current plasma owners to upgrade (good for the tv industry and retailers of high-end 4K LCD's in particular). On the other hand, if the F8500 wins, that could drive folks who need a new TV to ebay for used/refurbished plasmas, while reinforcing current plasma owners' decision to stick with what they have.
A very good point. The next shootout is going to get very interesting if there are no longer any plasmas included. You have to wonder whether those judging are going to give detailed assessments of clouding, light bleed, viewing angles, etc. of the LED sets that are on display. Maybe none of these will be issues but that hasn't been my experience.
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post #22 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 09:16 AM
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I really think there is a bigger story going on here. One that us diehards are failing to grasp and accept. It looks to me like there is an unannounced consensus between HDTV/Display producers that has been reached. The consensus is that they will all abandon the esoteric high end market. They have packed so much generic quality into the middle and low end markets, that they see no reason for a "High End" to exist. This actually started years ago IMO. Companies like Mitsubishi, Pioneer Kuro and others bailed early on large screen, CRT centric technologies. Retailers abandoned the high end after companies like "Best Buy & Circuit City" had run all of the boutiques out of business. Now it's plasma's turn to join the march to extinction with the dinosaurs. And it looks like all of the OLED eggs Plasma birthed runs the risk of never really being hatched.

Maybe those companies like Samsung are telling us more about ourselves than what many of us want to recognize. And that is pursuit of an acceptable "Best" for all seasons Display tech has already been achieved. And the pursuit of a "Better" just doesn't matter to enough of us anymore. Especially if "Big Screen Experiences" trend to cheaper micro displays in the future with devices like Oculus Rift and Sony Morpheus. If those OLED eggs are going to find a permanent home. It is there and in the mobile world IMO. And who knows? That segment may become the "High End" for the youth of tomorrow.

R.I.P plasma. Your post CRT reign was way too short for us people of today.
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post #23 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barrelbelly View Post
If those OLED eggs are going to find a permanent home. It is there and in the mobile world IMO. And who knows? That segment may become the "High End" for the youth of tomorrow.

R.I.P plasma. Your post CRT reign was way too short for us people of today.
The "youth of tomorrow" are already making me feel like a crotchety old man with their newfangled gizmos that are replacing the things I love, and I'm in my early 30's. I would love to see the plasma technology continue to grow, but with 4k it just doesn't seem feasible. The Samsung Touch of Color plasma was my first flat panel and I still have it 6 years later, I ran out and bought a 65" ZT60 when I heard they were being retired and now I may go out and grab an F8500. I don't know where the hell I will put it, but where there is a will there is a way; now I just have to convince the wife to let me bring home a new sibling for the ZT60 and Sony X900A I bought last year.
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post #24 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 09:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barrelbelly View Post
I really think there is a bigger story going on here. One that us diehards are failing to grasp and accept. It looks to me like there is an unannounced consensus between HDTV/Display producers that has been reached. The consensus is that they will all abandon the esoteric high end market. They have packed so much generic quality into the middle and low end markets, that they see no reason for a "High End" to exist. This actually started years ago IMO. Companies like Mitsubishi, Pioneer Kuro and others bailed early on large screen, CRT centric technologies. Retailers abandoned the high end after companies like "Best Buy & Circuit City" had run all of the boutiques out of business. Now it's plasma's turn to join the march to extinction with the dinosaurs. And it looks like all of the OLED eggs Plasma birthed runs the risk of never really being hatched.

Maybe those companies like Samsung are telling us more about ourselves than what many of us want to recognize. And that is pursuit of an acceptable "Best" for all seasons Display tech has already been achieved. And the pursuit of a "Better" just doesn't matter to enough of us anymore. Especially if "Big Screen Experiences" trend to cheaper micro displays in the future with devices like Oculus Rift and Sony Morpheus. If those OLED eggs are going to find a permanent home. It is there and in the mobile world IMO. And who knows? That segment may become the "High End" for the youth of tomorrow.

R.I.P plasma. Your post CRT reign was way too short for us people of today.
If any have been paying attention to the sales figures, the makers of the higher end TVs have been taking an absolute bath in recent years. It is most likely a decision which is not based on the technical merits of a particular TV technology, but rather a straightforward economic analysis of the exceedingly competitive HDTV market.

Last edited by mhobart; 07-01-2014 at 09:43 AM. Reason: typo
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post #25 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 09:38 AM
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UGH!!! Just as I'm about to finish my basement in a few months

so do I buy the Samsung now and not use it till xmas, or wait till late fall and buy whatever the option would be at that time?????
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post #26 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 09:41 AM
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UGH!!! Just as I'm about to finish my basement in a few months

so do I buy the Samsung now and not use it till xmas, or wait till late fall and buy whatever the option would be at that time?????
If you have the cash, seems like an easy choice; it's likely the 8500 will INCREASE in value over that time as long as you don't pay over retail (if the Panasonic experience translates -- likely), at which point you can keep or sell a brand new TV under warranty.
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post #27 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 09:43 AM
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The tv's with the best store modes win; just look at the forum members tooting their amazement of instore display setups from manufacturers.
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post #28 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 09:55 AM
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The tv's with the best store modes win; just look at the forum members tooting their amazement of instore display setups from manufacturers.
You usually can't depend on in-store displays as often the displays are not calibrated and/or are "jazzed up" for the harsh lighting in the store environment.
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post #29 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 09:57 AM
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UGH!!! Just as I'm about to finish my basement in a few months

so do I buy the Samsung now and not use it till xmas, or wait till late fall and buy whatever the option would be at that time?????
My advice...Grab one now if you really want one later. Because the retail price of these will actually go up as the day of doom approaches. Samsung will give premiere retailers like BB big markdown discounts to clear them out. But they will pocket most, if not all of it. And actually mark initial prices for them up (to create "wiggle room"). Because demand from the diehards will be in panic mode. So your strategy should be to go in with the intent of hardball negotiations. And with store managers only. They are the only ones with deal authority. Hold your ground. And be prepared to walk away. Because in 2015 the market for them will swing your way. As BB and Samsung will want all remnants 100% out of the market. So you will be able to find some stragglers at places like Tiger Direct...Microcenter...and Amazon. who have gotten sweetheart closeout deals that translate directly to you with unimagined low consumer prices. But supply will be vey limited. And it may be a crap shoot whether you get to one first.


Good luck!
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post #30 of 271 Old 07-01-2014, 10:01 AM
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A week ago, I would have run out and bought the 8500 plasma when I saw this news. However, I recently purchased the 55 inch LG OLED from a certain retailer on sale at around $2000. I've been watching it for over a week now and can say that it puts my Pioneer 6010 and Panasonic ZT60 in second place. I figured, like everyone else that OLED was at least 3 or 4 years from being affordable. Keep watching. I think they are going to get aggressive on pricing sooner than later.
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