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Plasma Still The Superior Display Technology

The coalition claims that plasma delivers superior power saving and is better at delivering 3D with more 3D features in more models.

They also claim that consumers get better “value for the inch” when compared with competing technologies such as LED-backlit and LCD products.

According to the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA) CE MarketMetrics program, shipments of plasma TV sets between January and May 2011 topped 1 million units which was a faster sell-through rate than 2010.

“CEA’s shipment data reports show the exceptional strength of high-definition 720p technology, which currently accounts for nearly two-thirds of overall plasma sales,” said Steve Koenig, industry analysis director for CEA, which tracks sales from manufacturers into retail stores.

Tamaryn Pratt, principal at Quixel Research, said “consumers continue to benefit from the affordability of plasma models, in particular the very large 60-inch-and-larger category. The percentage of HDTV sets sold with plasma technology is growing, not shrinking, with plasma sales achieving a 12 percent year-over-year revenue gain in the first quarter. In fact, plasma sales in the first quarter of 2011 rose to almost 900,000 units, with particular strength in 720p models.”

The NPD Group, which tracks sell-through data at retail, agreed. NPD tracking of January through April data shows steady growth for plasma. When rounded off, NPD data shows a sell-through of 1 million units as opposed to 805,000 for the same period in 2010. This represents a growth of 25 percent. In contrast, NPD reported that LCD units grew 2 percent in the same period.

Ken Park, DisplaySearch senior analyst for Korea TV market research affirmed the positive results. “With 3D functionality, plasma can re-position itself as a lasting technology in the TV industry.”

Jim Palumbo, president of the Coalition, said in a statement, “While plasma displays have long been the preferred screens in the test labs of industry reviewers, many home entertainment specialists also agree that plasma HDTV provides outstanding picture performance through superior picture contrast, exceptionally deep black levels, and crisp resolution even in fast-motion scenes.”

Palumbo added, “With the introduction of lifelike 3D plasma displays coupled with more affordable products, plasma HDTV is continuing to top the large-screen sales charts. Several 2011 plasma HDTVs also meet the new, more stringent Energy Star 5.3 requirements, which recognize top performers in their size classes,” he added.

For example, a new high-performance 42-inch plasma is Energy Star rated at 69 watts, as compared with a similar model in the same screen size that drew 158 watts in 2008 — a reduction of nearly 60 percent in power usage. Several 2011 plasma HDTVs meet the new more stringent Energy Star 5.3 requirements as top performers in their size classes.

“The Plasma Display Coalition and its members welcome and support the new EnergyGuide yellow labels that are required on all TVs starting this spring. The familiar guide, which can already be found on home appliances, now shows apples-to-apples comparisons for all types of TV technologies,” Palumbo said.

Data relates to US market.