Plasma Buyer Survey: Picture Quality is Key
The four-member Plasma Display Coalition, whose members include Hitachi, LG, Panasonic and Pioneer, has just processed the results of its first major online survey of 1,200 plasma TV buyers. The recently completed survey shows that 98 percent of respondents cite “excellent” or “good” picture quality to be a chief reason for their decision to opt for the technology.
According to Coalition president Jim Palumbo, that result, along with buyers’ expression of satisfaction with plasma’s picture resolution and screen-size options, “validates what we already suspected.”
And those “plasma positives” are being driven home to customers in the 50,000 high-quality, shirt-pocket-size, crib-sheet-style brochure handouts labeled “Plasma HDTV: Simply the Best Picture,” which the group had jointly produced and distributed this spring through a total of about 125 trainers to retail sales floor personnel. The brochures offer easy-to-convey talking points on topics like a plasma display’s life expectancy – the equivalent of up to 48 years at six hours’ use per day, before a set reaches half its original brightness. By comparison, traditional, large-screen tube TVs can only boast a 15-year life expectancy before reaching the half-brightness plateau.
Palumbo said that consumer satisfaction over life expectancy was one of the most surprising findings of the canvass – and that energy efficiency, also a factor in the “plus” column for plasma, “was not yet top of mind as a consideration” for those who were polled. He said he expected that might loom larger as a motive for purchase in future, and that the Coalition members’ 2008 model rosters boasted TVs in the most popular screen sizes – 42 and 50 inches – that were anywhere from 10 to 20 percent more energy-efficient than earlier models. Palumbo said he thought that “with the new EPA labeling on TVs, our members will probably talk about energy savings a little more” in their promotional efforts. “But energy savings are a byproduct of companies’ technology improvements. They’re not selling energy, they’re selling performance.” Plasma technology, for all its engineering advances of late, is only at 65 to 70 percent of its development curve, he added.