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Buy the last great plasma TV while you still can

Samsung's PNF8500, the last great plasma TV, is now cheaper than ever. If you're shopping in the high end of the TV market and care about picture quality, buying one now is extremely appealing despite the advent of 4K.

David Katzmaier Editorial Director -- Personal Tech
David reviews TVs and leads the Personal Tech team at CNET, covering mobile, software, computing, streaming and home entertainment. We provide helpful, expert reviews, advice and videos on what gadget or service to buy and how to get the most out of it.
Expertise A 20-year CNET veteran, David has been reviewing TVs since the days of CRT, rear-projection and plasma. Prior to CNET he worked at Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as the Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics. Credentials
  • Although still awaiting his Oscar for Best Picture Reviewer, David does hold certifications from the Imaging Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology on display calibration and evaluation.
David Katzmaier

A beautiful thing: Samsung's PNF8500 is still the best-performing TV available over 55 inches in size.

Earlier this year I called the Samsung PNF8500 series the last great plasma TV.

In the last couple of days its price on Amazon has dropped to its lowest levels yet. The 51-incher now costs $1,198, the 60-incher $1,698 and the 64-incher $2,498. No, the series still is not cheap, but for this level of picture quality it's a great value.

The PNF8500 delivers the deep black levels and excellent off-angle and screen uniformity of plasma, along with the brightest plasma picture we've ever tested. It's simply a superb performer, and delivers a more impressive image than any LCD TV.

"But what about 4K?," you may ask. In short, no 4K TV we've ever tested has better overall picture quality than the PNF8500. The closest, Sony's X900B , is much more expensive than the F8500 plasma. Check out some things to know about 4K TVs for more information why.

In fact, along with Samsung's plasma the other TV at the top of our Best TVs for picture quality list, LG's 55EC9800 is also not 4K. It uses OLED display technology, only comes in 55 inches, and costs quite a bit more than the PNF8500.

Along with LG, Samsung has already said it won't make any more plasma TVs after 2014. So if you're in the F8500's price range and interested in getting a great non-LCD TV before they all disappear, this might be your last, best chance. Especially if you missed out on Panasonic's exit last year.