Really Big Plasma

We are in the process of completing the home theater. It is located in the basement, and I have complete control of the lighting. It was designed to use a projector or flat panel, but unfortunately, it seems a flat panel may be the only option.

I have discovered it is relatively easy to find LCD flat panels in sizes up to 80 inches or more, but I would prefer a plasma rather than an LCD. However, no one makes an 80-inch plasma for under $6000. Panasonic makes the TH-85PF12U and TH-85VX200U, but those are roughly $20,000 and $30,000, respectively! Does anyone make an 80- or 85-inch plasma for under $6000, and if not, why? I can't believe there is no market for this in the HT world.

Vincent A.

You're right—as far as I know, Panasonic is the only company that makes plasmas larger than 65 inches. (In addition to the ones you mention, don't forget the 103-inch TH-103PF12U for around $40,000 and the 152-inch TH-152UX1, shown above, for a cool half-million bucks!) As for why no one else makes really large plasmas, I don't know—I can only surmise that it isn't cost-effective and would never result in one for a price that enough people could afford.

If you don't want an LCD, the only other options are front projection—which would work just fine in a completely light-controlled basement unless there are other factors I'm not aware of—or a rear-projection TV from Mitsubishi, which makes models up to 92 inches. The WD-92840 lists for $6000, but I've seen it online for less than $4000. Mits also makes four models of 82-inch RPTVs, which would obviously be less than that. Granted, they are bulkier than flat panels, but if you don't want an LCD and you can't accommodate front projection, these are your only option for a screen that big at a reasonable price.

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jnemesh's picture

"Hey guys, I really want a plasma TV larger than 80", but I dont want to pay what they are asking!" Sad, really, really sad.

akak's picture

Given that manufacturing yields shrink as panel sizes get larger, not to mention problems with shipping and installation (the sets will be HEAVY), it's not surprising that large plasma displays are so expensive. The Panasonic sets you mention are sold as professional displays, and have been around for a few years; I would think 3D would be a great reason to get a really large TV, but these sets lack it, along with the performance improvements Panasonic has made to its plasma sets over the last few years.

jnemesh's picture

Actually, the new displays from Panasonic ARE 3D compatible! They have the TH-85VX200U (85") and the TH103VX200U...both of which are 3D ready, once you add the TY3DTRW IR transmitter to the sets. Both of these sets are part of their "Premier" series. While based on their commercial chassis, the emphasis of the Premier line is for consumer use, emphasizing performance. Many of the improvements that have recently been made on the consumer side HAVE been added to these Premier models as well. They DO offer non-premier versions of both the 85" and 103" sets as well, and these DO NOT support 3D. Hopefully this will clear up any confusion.

Indydan's picture

Bang & Olufsen makes an 85 and 103 inch plasma:

A local dealer invited me to an evening where they presented the 85 inch model. It was only 1000$...

1000$ per inch!

Scott Wilkinson's picture
The B&O plasmas are pretty clearly sourced from Panasonic, though the company claims it adds lots of "secret sauce." And don't forget the cool stand that elevates the set when you turn it on. No wonder they cost $1000/inch!
Old Ben's picture

It's been a while since I have seriously price compared large flat screens, but for a long time, plasmas were the cheaper (and only) option for larger screen sizes. From the question being asked, it appears that has now changed (the question implies that 80" LCDs are available for under $6,000). If this is true, when did it happen and why? I thought that LCDs were more expensive to manufacture than plasmas. Is it an economies-of-scale issue now that LCDs vastly outnumber plasmas in volume sales? Is it plasmas being marketed to a higher-end audience?

Scott Wilkinson's picture
In sizes of 65 inches and less, plasmas are still less expensive than comparably sized LCDs, especially LED-LCDs, which dominate the large-size market these days. For example, Samsung's new 65-inch flagship LED-LCD, the UN65ES8000, is $5100, while its new 64-inch flagship plasma, the PN64E8000, is $3950. At sizes of 80+ inches, plasmas are more expensive, but I don't know why. FYI, the Sharp LC-80LE632 is $5500, and the newly announced LC-80LE844U is $6500.
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