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SECTIONS / TVS & LARGE DISPLAY

LG Samsung Plasma TV Battle Looms After Panasonic Exits Market

By David Richards | Friday | 08/11/2013

LG is set to expand their plasma TV line up in Australia after Panasonic a pioneer and plasma patent owner decided to quit the market earlier this month.

In a statement issued last night LG said that they plan to launch new plasma TV offering at January's CES show in Las Vegas with both Samsung and LG now battling it out to grow share following Panasonic's exit from the market. 

Panasonic has told retailers to brace for a possible surge in last-minute demand for their plasma TV's which will not be ranged after March 2014.

Panasonic blamed severe price competition in the global market for impacting the big-screen flat-panel demand and profitability.

Tamaryn Pratt, principal with Quixel Research, said the plasma display market has been on the decline since its peak of 4 million units a year in 2010. This year the category, which has just Samsung, LG and Panasonic participating, is expected to reach 2 million units.

She said that the death knell for plasma came about two years ago when 50-inch LED LCD TV outsold all other big-screen sizes and display types.

"This is no big surprise. We've been talking about this happening for the past two years," Pratt said. "That fact of the matter is that for the past year, Panasonic has been selling just as many, if not more, LED LCD TVs."

But she added, "It's still sad, since they were at one time the behemoth of the plasma TV industry, and it is a gorgeous technology. But the time has come, and the dollars and cents no longer work out for them."

Pratt said that after commanding the spot atop the plasma market for years, Panasonic had fallen into a virtual tie with LG for second place, with Samsung taking over the No. 1 position in the plasma market. 

Both Samsung and Panasonic had delivered flagship plasma models this year that achieved new highs in black-level and brightness performance, wowing experts, who continued to point to plasma over most LCD technologies for top picture performance. In Australia Samsung's 65" F8500 has won several awards and has been described as the best TV in the world today meanwhile Panasonic's plasma range is still seen by the specialist channel as being among the "best ever" flat panel TV's.

Samsung executives have said that they plan on continuing their plasma business in 2014.

"What's interesting is the plasma high-end flagship-series TV actually showed growth year over year in 2013, driven by enthusiasts seeking the best of class picture performance," A senior Samsung executive said.

An LG Electronics executive said "We have previewed our 2014 line for key retailers, and we plan to introduce new LG plasma HDTVs at CES 2014."

Currently Samsung Australia TV executives are in Korea where they are being shown a new line up of flat panel TV's that will be launched in Australia next year and at CES in January.

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