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Samsung to end plasma TV production this year

Following in the footsteps of Panasonic, Samsung says it will end production of plasma display panels by the end of this year.

Samsung PN60F8500
The Samsung PNF8500 is the last great plasma TV. Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung SDI has announced that it will shut down plasma panel production by November 30 of this year.

According to multiple reports, including Reuters, the firm said the reason for the shutdown was a decline in overall demand for plasma TVs. A company statement says it will concentrate resources on its energy and materials business.

Since this article was originally published Samsung has provided CNET with the following official statement, confirming the timing of its exit from plasma.

"We plan to continue our PDP TV business until the end of this year, due to changes in market demands. We remain committed to providing consumers with products that meet their needs, and will increase our focus on growth opportunities in UHD TV's and Curved TV's."

Earlier this year, I called the 2013 Samsung PNF8500 the last great plasma TV. That's because the company, despite rumors to the contrary, decided not to release any substantial new plasma models for the 2014 year, and the 8500 remains our top TV for picture quality.

How long the 8500 will remain on sale is still uncertain, but its days are now officially numbered.

Panasonic pulled the plug on plasma last year, to much chagrin, leaving the dwindling plasma market to Samsung and LG. Samsung's move to end plasma production was hinted at in January by John Ryu, vice president of Samsung's Visual Display R&D office.

Ryu told CNET at the time that he didn't think plasma had a future beyond 2014 at his company. He cited the difficulty of making a cost-effective 4K version -- reportedly a factor in Panasonic's pull-out -- and the overall cost of production compared with LED LCD.

According to another report today from Yonhap News Agency, "Industry watchers say LG Electronics Inc., South Korea's No. 2 tech giant, will also discontinue its PDP business in the near future, noting that it has already converted one of its PDP production lines to make solar batteries."

This article has been updated to reflect Samsung's statement.