Ah, plasma TVs—those relics of a bygone era that still inspire nostalgia, much like mixtapes and flip phones. It’s no secret that they’ve stepped off the production line and into the annals of television history. While they occasionally pop up like a rare Pokémon for those determined to catch ’em all, let’s be frank: they’re now more museum piece than must-have.

We get it, plasma TVs have their fans. It’s like rooting for a vintage sports car in a race against a Tesla—romantic, but not terribly practical. You see, today’s LED/LCD TVs have left plasma screens in their pixellated dust. We’re talking stratospheric improvements in screen quality and luminosity that make plasmas look like they’re broadcasting from a cave.

And let’s not even get started on design. Modern TVs are sleek marvels of technology, tailored by manufacturers who pour resources into design like it’s the secret sauce. These are not just TVs; they are centerpiece-worthy installations that practically demand a chic TV stand so they can hold court in your living room like the regal entities they are.

So if you’re still clinging to your plasma loyalty, we challenge you to unclasp those nostalgic hands and embrace the luminous future. Read on for our top picks that prove why plasma TVs are best left to the “remember when” conversations. We’ve curated a list of dazzling alternatives that would make even the most steadfast plasma aficionado consider a leap to the LED/LCD side—both in 2021 and in this fine year of 2023.

TCL 43S517 43-Inch Ultra Smart

 in stock
4 new from $397.94
1 used from $399.00
as of May 21, 2024 1:54 pm

1. Why this TV makes our Top 3 list?

When it comes to a TV that offers the trifecta of performance, features, and affordability, the TCL 43S425 is the home-theater darling we’ve all been waiting for. First off, let’s talk about that crystal-clear 4K Ultra HD resolution. This TV brings your favorite shows and movies to life in a way that would make even a cinema screen green with envy. With a refresh rate of 120 Hz, your sports and action scenes will move as smoothly as an Olympic skater on freshly Zamboni-ed ice.

It’s ROKU-enabled, meaning it gives you a seamless experience with a wide range of internet services like Netflix, Hulu, and even the underappreciated Spotify. And the voice control through Alexa? Hey Alexa, tell everyone we’ve got the smartest TV on the block. Finally, its compact size makes it perfect for multiple settings. Want a second TV in the bedroom, garage, or even a luxurious bathroom? This bad boy’s for you.

2. Is there anything to improve?

Ah, we’ve arrived at the point where we must nitpick for the sake of balance. While the darks on this TV may not be as “deep-space black” as some pricier options, it’s not exactly a deal-breaker either. For those who like to sleep in pitch darkness, beware the LED square at the bottom; it’s like a lighthouse in a sea of darkness. But don’t worry, there’s an option to turn it off and regain your cave-like ambiance. The built-in speakers are satisfactory but, let’s be real, you’ll want a soundbar to achieve that cinema-style oomph in sound quality.

3. What’s our final score?

Drum roll, please. After a rigorous examination and perhaps too many hours binge-watching our favorite shows for “research,” we give the TCL 43S425 an 9.2 out of 10. This TV is essentially the Swiss Army knife of the TV world; versatile, functional, and won’t cut a hole in your pocket. Whether you’re a broke college student, a gamer, or just someone looking for a high-quality, affordable second TV, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option.

Sceptre 32” LED Model

 check latest price
as of May 21, 2024 1:54 pm

1. Why this TV makes our Top 3 list?

First off, let’s talk bang for your buck. In a world where a cup of coffee can cost you a Jackson, the Sceptre 32-inch 720p LED TV comes off as a financial superhero. It’s as if Sceptre designed this TV while keeping in mind Uncle Ben’s sage advice: “With great power comes great affordability.” The high-resolution 720p display and a high contrast ratio of 5000:1 mean that this little firecracker packs a punch. Also, with its VESA Wall Mount Ready feature, it’s a real space-saver. Wink, wink! Ideal for smaller spaces like bedrooms and kitchens, this TV offers crisp images without shrinking your wallet. Two HDMI ports allow you to connect additional devices, making it versatile and ready for a binge-watching session of your favorite shows. A 4.3-star average rating on Amazon speaks volumes!

2. Is there anything to improve?

Well, nobody’s perfect—not even Jennifer Aniston’s hair. This TV might not win awards for its sound system. The sound can be tinny at times, requiring external speakers or a soundbar for a fuller audio experience. We also noticed that it lacks some features like setting timers or having a guide function, making it slightly less intuitive than its smart cousins. So, is it a genius? No. But is it reliable, efficient, and affordable? A resounding yes!

3. What’s our final score?

We’re impressed. Very impressed. But we’re also picky, especially when it comes to recommending electronics. After careful consideration, we give the Sceptre 32-inch 720p LED TV a score of 9.0 out of 10. It’s a fantastic option for anyone who’s seeking a mix of quality and affordability, perfect for college dorms, bedrooms, or as a backup TV in the nuclear fallout shelter you’ve been meaning to build.

TL;DR: If you’re looking for a TV that won’t force you to refinance your house, this is the way to go. Your wallet will thank you!

LG 65″ 4K Ultra HD Smart LED NanoCell

$947.97  in stock
1 used from $947.97
as of May 21, 2024 1:54 pm

1. Why this TV makes our Top 3 list?

Ah, the LG 55NANO90UPA, where cutting-edge technology meets the sheer bliss of couch-potato-ism. First of all, let’s talk about its Real 4K NanoCell Display—a feast for your eyes, like watching unicorns gallop in HD. We’re talking a billion rich colors and Full Array Dimming that make your old tube TV look like an Etch A Sketch. Oh, and did we mention the α7 Gen 4 AI Processor 4K? Your shows don’t just look good; they look fantastic. The AI Processor tweaks your viewing settings like a personal director in your living room. With Dolby Vision IQ and Dolby Atmos, this TV makes every movie night a premiere. And for all you sports fanatics and gamers, the FreeSync Premium Compatibility and 120Hz Refresh Rate make action scenes smoother than a jazz saxophonist’s riff.

2. Is there anything to improve?

Alright, so it’s not all rainbows and butterflies—or should we say billion rich colors? Some users mentioned that the TV lacks physical buttons, which means if you lose that Magic Remote (and let’s face it, who hasn’t?), you’ll be running circles. The remote itself could use a makeover too; it’s functional but not stellar. On the audio side, it’s decked out with Dolby, but for those audio purists, a soundbar may complete your symphonic quest. Finally, the built-in Bluetooth doesn’t transmit audio to headphones, which is like having a Tesla but no charging station nearby.

3. What’s our final score?

Let’s put it this way: if this TV were a high school student, it’d be the valedictorian and the quarterback. The LG 55NANO90UPA is a showstopper for anyone looking to upgrade their home entertainment system. We adore its AI features, the luscious 4K display, and those speeds that would leave The Flash envious. We’ve got some gripes, but they’re so minor, they’re practically a subplot. Our Final Score: 9.3/10


Plasma TV FAQs

How long do plasma TVs last?

Plasma TVs are estimated to have a lifespan of approximately 20 - 25 years for the average viewing pattern.

What are plasma TVs?

The plasma is a form of ionized gas that responds to electricity, and this is held in tiny cells between two sheets of glass. When activated by an electric current, the plasma responds by lighting up.

What happened to plasma TVs?

Plasma TVs were overtaken by ever improving technology and advances in LCD TVs, making them more popular.

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