It’s hard to believe that consumers are flocking to plasma HDTVs because of their value, but that’s exactly what is happening according to one research group.
Quixel Research’s report on big-screen (40 inches and higher) HDTVs found that in the second quarter of this year, plasma TV sales were up 31 percent in units sold and 35 percent in money spent compared to last quarter. Overall, sales reached $910 million, even as LCD revenue fell and overall large-screen TV revenue was flat.
The reason, as pointed out by the New York Times’ Gadgetwise, is the considerable savings gleaned when a buyer chooses a 720p plasma TV over a 1080p LCD display. Consumers can save roughly $500 by sacrificing the extra scan lines. For television and DVD watchers, that’s just fine, as those uses currently max out at 720p anyway. 1080p only becomes useful for Blu-ray and for high-definition gaming consoles, and even then the difference might not be enough to justify either a more expensive purchase or a smaller TV.
The report does suggest that consumers are opting for smaller 1080p LCD displays, noting that LCD sales remain flat overall since last quarter, and that these screens still hold 75 percent of the market. Still, the sudden uptick in plasma interest is hard to ignore.
Earlier this year, Vizio discontinued its plasma TVs because LCDs were moving faster off store shelves. Coupled with Pioneer pulling out of the TV business after halting its own plasma production a year earlier, it seemed plasma was waning. Quite the difference several hundred dollars makes in a down economy.