February 12, 2009. This week two major manufacturers of plasma HDTVs announced that they are dropping out of the business.
Both Pioneer and Visio announced that they are leaving the market for high definition plasma screen displays. While Pioneer was a major at the high end of the market, Visio worked the low end with low cost plasma HDTVs. Both found the market for plasma displays to be unprofitable. Viso is already in the process of phasing out their plasma products, while Pioneer mentioned a March 2010 date.
Visio cited a perceived problem trying to sell plasma displays in brightly lit showrooms. LCD screens do tend to look better in brightly lit showrooms, while plasma tends to look better in dark rooms, so there may be something to their claim. Plasma HDTVs also tend to consume more power than LCDs.
It looks like Pioneer simply priced themselves out of the market due to the higher cost of their HDTVs and lower cost rivals with very good quality HDTVs.
Visio plans to continue to sell LCD HDTVs, which tells me that there is a market shift toward LCDs, perhaps due to a reduced manufacturing cost advantage.
Plasma HDTVs are not yet disappearing from the USA market. Major players Panasonic, Samsung and LG continue to focus on plasma HDTVs.