Panasonic's Proclaimed Plasma Power

Trivia question: Where was the plasma display invented? Answer: University of Illinois (1964). Since then, it has grown into a formidable technology, widely used in televisions.  It particularly dominated the 40-inches and bigger market.  But recently LCD has come on strong, even in the big-screen  area.

One reason, according to Robert Perry, senior VP, Panasonic display products, is that, "There has been a lot of misinformation circulating about plasma HDTVs and longevity, and we're happy to once again set the record straight on the durability of Panasonic plasma." Translation: the rap against plasma is that it doesn't last as long as LCD.

In rebuttal, Panasonic now claims its 2008 lineup of 1080p Viera plasma HDTVs will run 100,000 hours before reaching half the original brightness level. This is based on the U.S. average daily viewing time of 6.5 hours. At that rate, the plasma TVs would take more than 42 years to reach half of their original brightness. According to Robert Perry, "Our plasma TVs are built to last a very long time."

Where does that anti-plasma "misinformation" come from?

Quoting J.D. Power and Associates and the Market Force Information 2008 Television Retail Insights Report, Panasonic says that a "high proportion of recommendations of LCD sets is primarily due to retail salespersons' lack of knowledge regarding recent improvements in plasma technology." D'oh!

Perry says, "Despite what consumers may hear from misinformed sources, plasma is the right choice for educated consumers looking for stunning picture quality and the ultimate big-screen viewing experience." Of course, leading manufacturers of LCD televisions will say the same thing, substituting "LCD" for "plasma."

If you don't need a 1080p Viera plasma HDTV that will last 42 years, Panasonic's 720p Viera plasma HDTVs are rated to run 60,000 hours or 25 years to half brightness (at 6.5 hours per day). Probably more than sufficient. -Ken C. Pohlmann

Photo credit: Casey Reed/NASA