From $17,000 to $1,000: A Decade Of Plasma

The average cost of a plasma TV in 2003 was $10,156. Back then, plasma TVs ranked fifth on the list of Top Digital Product Categories by value. Today, plasma TVs is number four on that list, though the average sales price has dropped 90 per cent to $1,030, according to the Canon Digital Life Index, compiled by GfK Retail & Technology.

It’s been a turbulent 10 years for the plasma TV category, with a multitude of major players entering and then exiting the category. With help from Current.com.au’s parent magazine, Appliance Retailer, editor Patrick Avenell looks back on A Decade of Plasma TVs.

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2001

Fujitsu Plasmavision 42-inch PDS4221 (RRP $17,457)

“Despite the price, we are predicting a firm swing into retail, which already accounts for 50 per cent of our sales of Plasmavision” — Bill Gillett, Fujitsu.

Fujitsu exited plasma in 2008.

2002

Sony 42-inch KZ42TS1E (RRP $13,999)

“Styling and appearance are a key focus on these products. Consumers don’t understand the technology behind plasma, however, Plasma WEGA is a step forward in design and aesthetics” — Di Frugtniet, Sony.

Sony exited plasma in 2006.

2003

Hitachi 42-inch 42PD500TA (RRP $11,999)

“Not all plasma displays are equal. According to industry research, Hitachi claimed 18 per cent worldwide market share in plasma in 2002” — Michael Mannasz, Hitachi.

Hitachi exited plasma in 2008.

2004

NEC 42-inch PX-42VR5W (RRP $5,999)

“We have such a beautiful technology, and we wouldn’t think that it is justifiable putting an analogue tuner in such a nice, Japanese-built technology, so we’re looking at developing an HD model” — Paul Cunningham, NEC.

NEC exited plasma in 2009.

2005

Toshiba 42-inch 42WP56 (RRP $4,499)

“Dimensional Reality combines five core picture enhancement technologies to create a 3D-like effect for an extra real and extra dimensional visual experience” — Jonathan Peart, Castel (then distributor of Toshiba).

Toshiba exited plasma in 2006.

2006

Hisense 42-inch HD plasma (RRP $2,499)

“There was a stigma but I think now as Chinese manufacturing is getting better. A lot of retailers — they are travelling and going to these fairs — and [Chinese] factories are making products for the major brands anyway” — Tania Garonzi, Hisense.

Hisense exited plasma in 2007.

2007

Pioneer Kuro 60-inch LX (RRP $11,999)

“Even though the category has grown in its overall size, margins all around are a lot less attractive than what they could have been just because of the different strategies that have been put in place” — Mark Anning, Pioneer.

Pioneer exited plasma in 2009.

2008

Samsung 50-inch 750 Series PS50A750T1 (RRP $2,849)

“Consumers are now asking for Full HD and they are asking for 100Hz, which will become the norm in plasma display panels” — Eric Anderson, Samsung.

Samsung remains in plasma.

2009

LG 50-inch Time Machine 50PS80ED (RRP $3,499)

“Demand for plasma is very strong and we believe that plasma is here to stay for a long time” — Warren Kim, LG Electronics.

LG Electronics remains in plasma.

2010

Panasonic 63-inch 3D Full HD TH-65VT20A (RRP $5,999)

“Consumers are looking for TVs that can offer a variety of content delivery alternatives. We are seeing the internet play a far greater role in our living room than ever before” — Matt Pearce, Panasonic.

Panasonic remains in plasma.

A version of this feature first appeared in Appliance Retailer magazine. Click here for more information.

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