THROWBACK THURSDAY: The last plasma

For most of the 2000s, the term “plasma” was synonymous with “flat screen.” The TVs were bright, sharp and (at least for the time) flat and light. Their dominance was short-lived, however, as people became disappointed with screens that were far too susceptible to “burn-in.” After just a few hours on one channel, the TV developed a ghostly image of the channel’s logo, an image that never went away. That tended to sour people on plasma screens, even though the picture quality was far superior to the LCD panels at the time.

It wasn’t long that plasma TVs that originally sold for $15,000 or more were sold for $1,000 or less. People just didn’t want them. With LCD TVs improving all the time, people looked past the somewhat less desirable picture and instead embraced the thinner, lighter LCDs that didn’t burn in.

So, it was with a somewhat heavy heart I announced that plasma TVs were going out of production in 2013. (Sadly that article has been lost to time, but here’s another one.)They’re long gone now, of course, and to be truthful it’s hard to find a TV that looks as good as a plasma did in 2010. Sure there are 4K TVs now, but the superior refresh rate and contrast of plasma are hard to beat unless you go to an exotic technology like OLED or to the new crop of HDR TVs. Consumers say, by and large, that their $500 TVs are “good enough,” and that’s been a crushing blow to people who really can tell the difference.