Samsung drops plasma screens to leave LG all alone in the market

Lynsey Barber
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Samsung leaves LG as the only maker of plasma TVs (Source: Getty)

Samsung is ending production of its plasma screen TVs leaving LG as the only electronics company still manufacturing the sets which first went on sale to the public in 1997.

Panasonic earlier this year stopped making plasma screens, and it’s the result of steady declines in demand, in part from competition from thinner and cheaper LCD TVs.

It’s a while since the noughties heyday when stars on MTV’s Cribs bragged about their plasmas heralding the era of flat screen TVs, but a decline in demand is not just hitting plasma screens.

TV sales overall have fallen consecutively since 2011.

TV makers are looking towards OLED, UHD and 4K technology to create even thinner and better screens that excite consumers again, but there may be trouble ahead.

Panasonic also escaped the fledgling OLED market in May this year, despite previous protestations that it was fully committed to the technology.

Both Samsung and LG are still on board with OLED, but have revised their projections for when sets will become affordably mainstream to 2017.

Sony hived off its TV business earlier this year, though it says it’s still committed to production of 4K TVs.

IHS has reported a good start to the year, with global TV shipments up in the first quarter, but others warn that it’s in no way a trend for resurrection in TV sales.

Rethink research point to the drop in plasma sales inflating LCD, and an over supply of sets from the expected World Cup demand. It notes:

“People with long memories will know that in 2010, just after the world cup, there was a dramatic over supply in the retail channel for flat TVs, which lead to a disastrous third quarter, as retailers cleared the channel. Expect that again this year.”

The development of new TV technology is no longer the biggest thing in consumer electronics. Everyone’s glued to screens these days, but the scramble for the next big thing is in your palm not in front of your sofa and anyone still in the business of making TVs is feeling that.