Plasma TV sales up 87%, Plasma detractor’s carry on undaunted

June 8, 2006

Panasonic 65You know for a technology that’s been described as “on its last leg” “on the way out” and “soon to be overtaken by LCD”, plasma displays sure are selling like hotcakes.

Even with all of the ridiculously exaggerated ‘burn-in’ horror stories and laughable “gas leak” rumors, spread by plasma conspiracy theorists, manufacturers managed to ship 87% more plasma’s in the first quarter of 2006, than the same quarter in 2005.

Here’s an ugly truth about many tech writers specifically the ones that seem to come up with ‘buyer beware’ type articles over and over, most of them have never objectively reviewed a single CE product much less actually witnessed “Plasma Burn-in” first hand.

Does such a thing exist? Of course it does (did would be more accurate), and in every case I’ve seen as much as I hate to say it, the cause boiled down to ignoring the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Now, I won’t argue the fact that manufacturer’s played a role in the burn-in debacle; early on they had a choice to make.

Do we (the manufacturers) scream at the top of our lungs “Plasma’s aren’t CRT’s, they have to be treated differently” or do we keep quiet, put it in the legalese and sell a ton of these things? I guess you know which decision they made.

Don’t get me wrong, some brands did better jobs than others at getting the proper care word out to the public (Panasonic comes to mind).

But in the end, just about every owner’s manual ever shipped with a plasma display mentions keeping the brightness and or contrast ratio below a certain threshold, for X amount of hours, until the display is broken in.

No doubt someone who ‘knows a guy’ with a burnt plasma image is reading this right now. I wonder if some of this phenomenon is related to poorly trained salesmen and internet sales, where the customer was never warned about the potential for burn-in.

I can still remember very vividly, my boss instructing us to give our customers the “speech” whenever we finished a Plasma installation; I wonder how many of the unfortunate owners who did indeed experience burn-in never received that speech. Or never bothered reading their owner’s manual.



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under High Definition Televisions


Comments

  • B.Greenway

    Hey Ben,

    Don’t hate to be the guy, I’ve seen several myself, again though the owner’s manuals clearly state; don’t leave them on channels with fixed logos or stock tickers for extended periods.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that after the whole Wimbledon lawsuit in the UK, many networks began toying around with slow fades and other methods of reducing the potential for burn-in with their logos, tickers etc.

    I’m not discounting the fact that it occurs, I’m just stating that it has become much less of a worry than in the past, many plasma manufacturers have tweaked the gas mixture in their displays to be much less prone to this than in the early models.

    And yes, in many cases it was just a matter of them being left on CNN for hours at a time, hey if your viewing habits include hours upon hours of the weather channel and network news, you’re probably better off with an LCD anyway.

  • B.Greenway

    Hey Ben,

    Don’t hate to be the guy, I’ve seen several myself, again though the owner’s manuals clearly state; don’t leave them on channels with fixed logos or stock tickers for extended periods.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that after the whole Wimbledon lawsuit in the UK, many networks began toying around with slow fades and other methods of reducing the potential for burn-in with their logos, tickers etc.

    I’m not discounting the fact that it occurs, I’m just stating that it has become much less of a worry than in the past, many plasma manufacturers have tweaked the gas mixture in their displays to be much less prone to this than in the early models.

    And yes, in many cases it was just a matter of them being left on CNN for hours at a time, hey if your viewing habits include hours upon hours of the weather channel and network news, you’re probably better off with an LCD anyway.

  • Ben Hobbs

    I hate to be the guy, but yes, I have seen a number of burned-in Plasma TV sets – One was just old, One had a logo in the top left corner burned in from watching the same channel and the other had a two-inch line burned horizontally which I guess was from a stock ticker or similar.

    All can probably be put down to user error or bad maintenance, however I do see it as a potential problem for someone who watches the same channel consistently or who forgets to turn their games machine off at night etc…

    I prefer the look of plasma TV’s but have to say I don’t agree with Sam that LCD is an inferior technology. In its short lifetime as a mainstream TV product it has caught up and IMO surpassed plasma technology, it uses less power, is cheaper and easier to manufacture (and dispose of) and can achieve higher resolutions with an ease that plasma simply can not match.

    I’ve got two $10,000+ broken Plasma’s in my office that have given up the ghost due to power supply problems, both are less than 4 years old.

  • Ben Hobbs

    I hate to be the guy, but yes, I have seen a number of burned-in Plasma TV sets – One was just old, One had a logo in the top left corner burned in from watching the same channel and the other had a two-inch line burned horizontally which I guess was from a stock ticker or similar.

    All can probably be put down to user error or bad maintenance, however I do see it as a potential problem for someone who watches the same channel consistently or who forgets to turn their games machine off at night etc…

    I prefer the look of plasma TV’s but have to say I don’t agree with Sam that LCD is an inferior technology. In its short lifetime as a mainstream TV product it has caught up and IMO surpassed plasma technology, it uses less power, is cheaper and easier to manufacture (and dispose of) and can achieve higher resolutions with an ease that plasma simply can not match.

    I’ve got two $10,000+ broken Plasma’s in my office that have given up the ghost due to power supply problems, both are less than 4 years old.

  • Nate

    I am planning on purchasing a large HD display in the next 6-12 months. I have the same opinion as “whodisbe” once had and I share concerns with “Dave”. I realize that the problem is not as apparent when the proper precautions are taken, but I still worry about things like video games.

  • Nate

    I am planning on purchasing a large HD display in the next 6-12 months. I have the same opinion as “whodisbe” once had and I share concerns with “Dave”. I realize that the problem is not as apparent when the proper precautions are taken, but I still worry about things like video games.

  • B.Greenway

    Gamers are obviously at an increased risk for phosphor burn. As with all my comments here, assume all (unless otherwise noted) my generalizations are aimed at Home Theater use.

  • B.Greenway

    Gamers are obviously at an increased risk for phosphor burn. As with all my comments here, assume all (unless otherwise noted) my generalizations are aimed at Home Theater use.

  • Dave

    I’m curious about video games on plasma. A lot of video games use persistent HUD images–and I can play for hours. Any plasma-owning gamers out there that can verify that burn-in isn’t a problem for marathon gaming sessions?

  • Dave

    I’m curious about video games on plasma. A lot of video games use persistent HUD images–and I can play for hours. Any plasma-owning gamers out there that can verify that burn-in isn’t a problem for marathon gaming sessions?

  • Brian Hoyt

    It is funny you mention Plasma isn’t CRT. For me I have never witnessed Plasma burn in, but I have seen a whole bunch of CRT burn in. It seems that it is far easier to have CRT burn in than Plasma?

  • Brian Hoyt

    It is funny you mention Plasma isn’t CRT. For me I have never witnessed Plasma burn in, but I have seen a whole bunch of CRT burn in. It seems that it is far easier to have CRT burn in than Plasma?

  • sam

    Ive owned a 61″ plasma for 2 years now and have no evidence of any burn in issues occuring. I make sure that i dont leave the TV on with one image for a very long time. Otherwise, the superior picture quality and larger size for plasmas make them the top choice in my book. Lots of the “problems” we all hear about for plasma are simply part of an effort to undermine a superior technology by LCD makers.

  • sam

    Ive owned a 61″ plasma for 2 years now and have no evidence of any burn in issues occuring. I make sure that i dont leave the TV on with one image for a very long time. Otherwise, the superior picture quality and larger size for plasmas make them the top choice in my book. Lots of the “problems” we all hear about for plasma are simply part of an effort to undermine a superior technology by LCD makers.

  • whodisbe

    I”m not really pro-plasma b/c of the burn-in issue mainly, but this article did give me a bit of insight, and might even change my mind on a future tv purchase.

    Currently I own a Sony rear projection, but hope to replace that when I buy a house with a projector in the basement. However, I do want a few monitors around the house, probably bed rooms, dens, etc. Who knows, after reading this, I might reconsider making them plasmas.

  • whodisbe

    I”m not really pro-plasma b/c of the burn-in issue mainly, but this article did give me a bit of insight, and might even change my mind on a future tv purchase.

    Currently I own a Sony rear projection, but hope to replace that when I buy a house with a projector in the basement. However, I do want a few monitors around the house, probably bed rooms, dens, etc. Who knows, after reading this, I might reconsider making them plasmas.