Plasma vs LED: Market

Updated Dec 09, 2013 By Cedric Demers

Year Introduced to General Public

Year Introduced

LCD screens have been used as a television for a long time now, since 1988. Sharp introduced the first commercial LCD television in 1988 at a size of 14". Due to size constraints and low refresh rate, it took LCDs until 2007 to surpass CRTs in worldwide sales.

While being present before in the display industry, the first 42" television was introduced by Fujitsu in 1997. Plasma TVs had a fast growth initially because they were much bigger than the current LCDs and had a faster response time. That growth stagnated quickly though, LCD sales surpassed Plasmas in 2006.

The first edge-lit LED TV was introduced by Sony in 2008.

Sales trend

A good way to see how a technology performs is to look at its sales figures and what the others are buying.

LCD screens (both CCFL and LED backlight) account for the big majority of sales worldwide today. Plasma is growing slightly, but still represent only a small portion of all the HDTVs sold (less than 10%). The slight increase is a bit surprising, because a few years ago everyone thought plasma was dying.

In Q4 2013, Panasonic announced that it will stops producing plasma TVs and will concentrate on the next technology. This leaves only 2 manufacturers of plasma left: LG and Samsung.

There is a major shift in the technology of the backlight of the LCD screens since 2010. The LED backlight is replacing the old CCFL backlight, and now accounts for the majority of the LCD screens sold. There was quite a buzz around full array matrix LED backlight in 2010, but now companies are getting out of it due to higher cost and marginal picture quality improvement.

You can check more statistics on the DisplaySearch NPD Group site here.
Winner: LED


plasma vs led tv price chart
Available Sizes
PlasmaBetween 42" and 65"

As mentioned before, it is very hard to build a plasma display of a small size due to the limit constraint on the size of the cells. Therefore, the smallest plasma TV available to buy is 42". Also, the biggest available is 65". LEDs offer the full range of sizes, from very small 20" TV to extra-large 100".


This concludes our comparison of a plasma and an LED TV. To figure out the best TV according to your needs, you can check out our buying tool. Otherwise, you can go directly to our selection of the best TVs that we reviewed by size.

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