AVS Forum Addicted Member
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Stop making curved screens
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I would like to be sadder about this.
I bought a 2012 plasma knowing full well it would be the last plasma I'd ever buy. It's two years later and there exists no OLED for any price that would replace it, though perhaps one will come later this year. Still, I paid about $3,000 for a top-of-the-line 65-inch TV and that OLED is apparently going to cost 2-3x as much when (if?) if arrives.
But, importantly, it will use about 1/3 the power. It will be significantly thinner and lighter, to the extent that matters in our ever-miniaturizing world. It will display 4K, which my TV will never do. It will likely be better in daytime viewing, where my set is good, and brighter for use in evenings, where my set is good but imperfect, thanks to being a plasma.
It's clear to me in retrospect that I could not have bought at a better time. I had a 6-year-old TV that had served its purposes. I figured the replacement would likely last a similar length of time, but that under no circumstances would I be jonesing for an upgrade until around the 4th year.
It now appears that the 4th year, 2016, will be the "moment" for OLED. In 2014, LG will launch more models if all goes according to plan. In 2015, they will find the right prices to make those begin to sell and allow for higher volume. In 2016, LG's OEMs, quite possibly Samsung, and maybe even another will join the market and widely expand OLED availability.
There is no irony in that 2016 was the year that had been identified eons ago on these forums as prime time for OLED. That doesn't mean people buying them now -- the early adopters -- are foolish. In fact, those buying them next year are likely to be about as happy as the 2016 buyers, even though they'll pay more and have fewer choices.
In an ideal world, the plasma would have lived to fill the gap for a fantastic $3,000 TV until the OLED was a fantastic $3,000 TV. I am not opposed to a world where a fantastic TV costs more, but I am aware of sales data and can state fairly categorically that above $3,000, there is essentially no market at all.
Perhaps the plasma needed to die before the OLED could flourish. In that regard, it might be like the great dinosaurs of 65 million years ago. They needed to die before the early mammals, however interesting, could really begin to stake their claims.
What we've seen is T. Rex (Panasonic) and Stegosaurus (Samsung) exit the stage one after the other. They may not have been friends, but the ecosystem thrived when both were strong and died quickly when one disappeared. Each was a hulking beast with some amazing attributes. Neither is well suited to the changing climate (literally and figuratively).
This is a weird time for a TV buyer. Do you buy the last plasma if you're in the market? Or do you buy some LCD that might displease you in some way? The answers are beyond the scope of this epitaph, but I'm happy to help with advice elsewhere.
In the meantime, RIP plasma. Without you, there likely never would have been a flat-panel TV era. You made LCD solve problems of manufacturing it didn't know it had until it tried to compete with you. Then, it's nimbleness and sheer scale crushed you. Thanks for the memories. And thanks for holding out until 2016 or so in my family room. I appreciate it, in advance.
There's a saying about "everything in moderation". If only it was applied to well, you know...