Hearsay about Panasonic's exit from plasma panel production has hung heavy in the air since the beginning of the year. Earlier today, business news outlet Nikkei reported that the beloved plasma manufacturer has finally confirmed its aim to end production of all consumer and commercial plasma panels, setting a goal for the beginning of fiscal year 2014.
South Korean giants LG and Samsung will likely continue plasma production next year, but the public will no doubt miss Panasonic, since it has been the go-to name for plasma since around 2009. Picture quality enthusiasts unanimously agree that plasmas are superior to LCDs, fostering richer colors, darker black levels, and better viewing angles. Yet despite its popular cult status, plasma has steeply declined in recent years. Panasonic's TV division reported a $913 million dollar loss last year.
The final nail in the coffin, however, is undoubtedly the coming prevalence of OLED TVs within the consumer market. OLED displays like Samsung's 55KNS9C and LG's 55EA9800 recently knocked Panasonic's ultra-premium ZT60 out of our #1 spot. OLED puts a definitive end to the battle between plasma and LCD—it's simply better than both of them.
If you've dreamt about buying a plasma TV, better do it now before it's too late. Panasonic's out of the game—and with it, some of the best picture quality of the last few years.