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Best Home Plasma TVs for the Money 2016

Updated on September 17, 2016
Is the Panasonic Viera TC-P60ZT60 the best Plasma picture we'll ever see?
Is the Panasonic Viera TC-P60ZT60 the best Plasma picture we'll ever see?

Plasma TVs Have Come a Long Way

In the nearly twenty years since Plasma technology was introduced to the mainstream a lot has changed. Initially Plasma TVs had a mere 852x480 resolution and were pricey at around $15,000. At the time, I was working at a retail store which had one on display and was blown away when I compared the 480p high definition vs. the other televisions on the market. For the money the technology was the best you could buy back then and definitely worth it if you had deep pockets.

Since that time more competitors have come into the market. LCD televisions began to overtake Plasma televisions for popularity in 2006, LED LCDs brought even more energy efficiency, and in 2016 OLED technology seems to be where everything is headed. So, why even talk about a fading technology? Because it still has its advantages over conventional LED LCDs when it comes to pictures.

During all of that time that competitors were entering the market, Plasma technology continued to improve. One such improvement is in the overall thickness which in 2016 is less than 1/4 the thickness which the average model had in 2006. Also, in 2013 Panasonic released their best plasma TV picture ever with the P60Zt60. While the company is now focusing more on LED Technology, this Plasma TV as well as others in the line will be produced for several years to come and prove to be a good competitor vs. the LED LCDs and pricey OLED TVs. Here's why:

Both plasma and OLED TVs have eliminated the motion blur that once plagued the TV industry. Higher refresh rate LCDs are good at this too.
Both plasma and OLED TVs have eliminated the motion blur that once plagued the TV industry. Higher refresh rate LCDs are good at this too.

Reasons to Still Consider a Plasma Television in 2016

Plasma Vs. LED LCD Vs. OLED Technology

The Dreaded Burn-In:

All of these technologies have burn-in issues, but plasma technology, has certainly been hampered the most by what I'd call the burn-in stigma. That being said newer plasma technology has very few issues with burn-in which is now more of a thing of the past. Even if you had a slight burn-in you could get rid of it simply by watching your television. On the other hand OLED technology, still in its infancy, has major burn-in issues at this time.

Despite improvements in contrast that have been made with LCD televisions over the last couple of years, they still lack the deep black color that you can get from either a Plasma or an LED HDTV. If you placed an LCD TV next to a Plasma TV you would clearly see the difference. This makes the picture of a Plasma TV, when placed in a moderately bright room, hard to beat when compared to modern LED LCD televisions. Because OLED technology functions without a backlight, it can also produce ink level blacks.

Wide Viewing Angles:

Unlike LCD televisions Plasma and OLED TVs can be viewed at up to a 170 degree angle without color distortion.

Refresh Rate and Motion Blur

Plasma televisions don't really have what would be considered a conventional refresh rate. Long story short, they have virtually no motion blur. OLED technology also eliminates this problem. On the other hand many current LED LCD televisions still have this issue. To avoid it you need to purchase an LED HDTV with a high refresh rate.

What Kind of TV is Best for Your Needs?

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Deep blacks help to give Plasma TVs a more lifelike picture.
Deep blacks help to give Plasma TVs a more lifelike picture.

Price - Plasma Gives you a Better Picture for the Money

With the curve of OLED TVs, and lack of contrast in LED TVs, Plasma gives you a better overall picture for your money. In addition to this, Plasma TVs are also generally as cheap or cheaper than most modern LEDs and less than one quarter of the price of newly released OLED televisions.


If you're in the market for a new TV in 2013 or even heading into 2014, then Plasma TVs still give you the best picture available for budget pricing. Here's a look at some of the top rated options available at the end of 2013:

5 stars for Panasonic VIERA TC-P60ZT60 600 Hz 1080p 3D Smart TV

Best Plasma Picture Overall:

Top 5 Plasma TVs


One of the best pictures I've ever seen in a television has to be in Panasonic's new VIERA TC-P60ZT60.

Because newer technology has been suspended from Panasonic, it's possible that this is the best plasma picture you'll ever see.

That being said the unbelievable picture comes for a premium. At around $2500 it's nearly twice as much as even high-end 60 inch models.

Plasma TVs Under $1,500


If you want a really good cinema quality picture for your money, but don't have to have the absolute best, then I strongly recommend the VIERA TC-P60ST60.

This particular model is available in sizes from 50 to 65 inches. Overall you get a 3D Smart TV with lots of apps, wireless internet, and an unbelievable picture for under $1500.

3. Panasonic TC-P65VT60

Plasma TVs Under $1,000

4. LG 60PN6500

There's really two televisions in this category that I'd consider.

If you're looking strictly for the best picture for under $1,000, then LG's 60PN6500 model gives you a large screen without the large screen price.

Why is this TV so inexpensive? Because it's not a Smart TV. That being said if you're like me and have a separate computer hooked up to your TV, or don't tend to use Smart TV apps, then this is a good value for your money.

4. Samsung PN51F5500

If you're looking for a smart 3D plasma TV in the under $1,000 category, then I highly recommend the Samsung PN51F5500. With it you still get a large 51 inch screen, but you also get all the benefits of having a Smart TV. While this model is available in a 60 and 65 Inch version as well, it's the 51" model that you can find for around $850 on sale, that seems to be such a good value.


In summary I feel that the 4 models listed above are those which give you the best overall value in 2013. If you have any questions about these models or plasma technology in general, then leave me a question in the comment section below and I'll respond as soon as possible.

© 2014 Brandon Hart


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