The plasma television's all-too-brief tenure as the top of the TV heap reminds us of this quote from Blade Runner. Tyrell tells Roy, “The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long — and you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy.” The plasma TV, which had its heyday in the early 2000s, was the Roy of the home theatre experience. It featured brilliant colors, vivid contrast, and deep, dark black levels. It also weighed roughly 497 pounds.

That's hyperbole, of course, but for as superior to LCD TVs as plasma TVs were, they were also bulky, heavy, and expensive. As society continues hurtling toward sleeker, thinner, and lighter everything, plasma TVs were edged out by increasingly slender, and increasingly better-looking LED and OLED TVs. Plasma TVs were ultimately discontinued altogether in 2015. Now, those lithe LEDs and OLEDs rule the roost.

If you're looking to replace your old plasma TV, or if you simply want to replicate the plasma experience, use this guide to help you decide which modern TV may fill that plasma TV-shaped hole in your entertainment soul.

Product FAQs

How Do Plasma TVs Work?

What's the Difference Between an LED TV and an OLED TV? How Did/Do They Compare to Plasma TVs?

What's the Difference Between HD and 4K Resolution?

What's a Smart TV?

How This List Was Created

How This List Was Created

This list uses a 65-inch screen as a baseline to level the playing field and make price comparisons practical. All of the TVs included feature LED or OLED displays. In populating our list of potential plasma successors, we examined the following criteria:

  • Resolution
  • Color
  • Contrast
  • Brightness
  • Sharpness
  • Black level
  • Sound
  • Smart TV functions
  • Warranty
  • Price

Each of the TVs in this guide performed well in most or all of these categories. We paid special attention to color, contrast and black levels, given that those were plasma TVs' strongest selling points.

Pricing

A 65-inch 4K LED or OLED TV will set you back anywhere from $1,800 to $4,000. The three leading 4K TV manufacturers in 2018 are LG, Samsung and Sony. Their televisions are available from a wide variety of stores, including online retailers such as Amazon, as well as stalwart brick-and-mortar shops, such as Best Buy, Target, Walmart, JCPenney and Fry's Electronics.

The 7 Best Plasma TV Alternatives in 2018


Sale
Sony XBR65A8F 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart BRAVIA OLED TV (2018 Model)
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): TV without stand: 57 x 33 x 2 1/4(1/4) inch, TV with stand: 57 x...
  • Everything you watch looks like 4K HDR with the X1 Extreme processor and 4K X-Reality PRO....
  • Enjoy smooth and vibrant colors with TRILUMINOS Display & 4K HDR Super Bit Mapping....

The Sony XBR65A84 boasts deep blacks and vivid details, thanks to its 4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme that processes images in real time and upscales what you watch. Sometimes, the X1 Extreme replicates 4K HDR; other times, not so much. The colors on this OLED TV remain consistently brilliant, thanks to its Triluminos display, which has an extensive color palette and 4K HDR Super Bit Mapping. All of that tech combines to create a far-reaching range of tones and shades.

One of the XBR65A84's most interesting features is its Acoustic Surface sound technology. Sound emanates from the entire screen. While it's an improvement over watching the latest engine-revving, chrome-crashing, Vin-Diesel-growling installment in the Fast and Furious franchise with a standard set of TV speakers, for optimum home theatre sound, you're still better off hooking up your own receiver and speakers.

The Sony XBR65A84 comes with a limited 1-year warranty and is compatible with Alexa. It's available from Amazon for $3,798.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Sale
LG Electronics 65SK9000PUA 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2018...
  • LG SUPER UHD TV with AI (Artificial Intelligence) ThinQ has the Google Assistant built in,...
  • α7 Intelligent Processor enhances 4K HDR content for a truly cinematic experience. Enjoy...
  • Full array local dimming results in better picture quality. This more precise local...

If your inner George or Jane Jetson dreams of controlling the entire house using just the dulcet tones of your own voice, the LG 65SK9500PUA Super UHD TV with AI ThinQ (say that 10 times fast) might be the TV for you. AI stands for Artificial Intelligence, and this feature-filled OLED TV has Google Assistant built in and is compatible with Amazon Alexa, too.

An a7 Intelligent Processor and Nano Cell Display combine for heightened 4K HDR capable of over 1 billion colors. The picture is bright, and the colors are brilliant. Some users have reported edge bleed and haloing, however. The 65SK9500PUA tries to bring the movie theatre experience home with Dolby Atmos sound, which sounds great — at least for built-in speakers.

It's available from Amazon for $1,696.99 and comes with a 1-year warranty.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Sale
LG Electronics OLED65C7P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV (2017...
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): TV without stand: 57.2" x 32.8" x 1.8", TV with stand: 57.2" x...
  • Smart functionality gives you access to your favorite apps and content using webOS 3.5....
  • Pairs 4K Ultra HD picture clarity with the contrast, color, and detail of High Dynamic...

This 2017 version of the LG OLED65C8PUA snags a spot on the 2018 list thanks to its pixel-perfect color depth and slender, glare-free screen. Blacks are deep and dark; hues pop, thanks to the 4K OLED display's Active HDR with Dolby Vision. Built-in Dolby Atmos sound works hard to imitate the surround sound you'd find at the theatre or with a proper set of surround sound speakers.

The LG OLED65C7P comes with a 1-year warranty and is available from Amazon for $1,787.99.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Sale
Samsung UN65LS003AFXZA Flat 65" LED 4K UHD The Frame SmartTV 2017
  • The Frame transforms into a beautiful work of art when you're not watching TV.
  • The Frame includes a gallery of professionally curated art, with one hundred pieces from...
  • Our Customizable Frame* has the flexibility to fit into any home's décor. You can change...

When is a TV not a TV? When it turns into a literal work of art. The Samsung UN65LS003AFXZA, aka The Frame, is an LED TV that doubles as a natural-looking framed painting or photo — the choice is yours. Turn off The Real Housewives of Omaha and turn on Art Mode just before your mother-in-law comes over, and she'll be greeted with your favorite Monet instead of an angry mother of five flipping over a table.

It's a rad gimmick, and that's the major downside with this TV: it's a little gimmicky. The Frame comes with a curated, 100-piece art gallery and the option to buy more art for your virtual collection. You can also display family photos alone, or in a collage, with a variety of simulated mattes. The TV itself has adequate color and sound, and that's probably good enough: the aesthetics are what really matter with this unique take on a flat-screen television.

The Samsung UN65LS003AFXZA is The Frame's 2017 model, which we found to be just as good — and less expensive than — the 2018 model. It comes with a 1-year limited warranty and is available from Amazon for $2,399.99

Quality

Usability

Support

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Sale
LG Electronics OLED65E8PUA 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV (2018...
  • LG OLED TV with AI (Artificial Intelligence) ThinQ has the Google Assistant built in, so...
  • The α9 Intelligent Processor inside the LG OLED TV with AI ThinQ is the most powerful...
  • Pixel Level Dimming enables each of the 8.3 million individually lit pixels of the LG OLED...

This 2018 update of the LG OLED65C7P takes that already-stellar OLED TV and improves upon the output with its a9 Intelligent Processor, which produces even sharper pictures. Is it a huge, brain-melting difference that'll blow your retinas out of your eyeholes? No, but it is noticeable if you're looking for it, and it is something to consider as you future-proof your home theatre. Both TVs are excellent, but if you have the funds in the bank for the OLED65E8PUA, the most recent version of this smart TV is likely the smart call.

It's available at Amazon for $3,496.99 and features a 1-year warranty.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Sale
LG Electronics OLED65C8PUA 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV (2018...
  • LG OLED TV with AI (Artificial Intelligence) ThinQ has the Google Assistant built in, so...
  • The α9 Intelligent Processor inside the LG OLED TV with AI ThinQ is the most powerful...
  • Pixel Level Dimming enables each of the 8.3 million individually lit pixels of the LG OLED...

The LG OLED65C8PUA is the current star of the LG OLED TV lineup. Given that LG is the world's bestselling OLED brand, that's a nothing to sneeze at. This OLED stunner has 8.3 million individually-lit pixels; that means sharp details, rich hues and practically flawless blacks.

All this pixel precision is powered by an a9 Intelligent Processor that's packed inside LG's ThinQ ultra-slim cinema screen, which is big on color and slender on space. Part of the AI line, it has the Google Assistant built in and is compatible with Amazon Alexa, just in case you can't decide between robot butlers.

The LG OLED65C8PUA features Dolby Atmos sound and Dolby Vision support, and it comes with a 1-year warranty. It’s available from Amazon for $2,996.99.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Sale
Sony XBR65X900F 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2018 Model)
  • BEYOND HIGH DEFINITION: 4K HDTV picture offers stunning clarity & high dynamic range color...
  • ENHANCED QUALITY: With the X1 Extreme Processor enjoy controlled contrast & wide range of...
  • PREMIUM DISPLAY: Enjoy vibrant colors with TRILUMINOS & clear on-screen action with...

If you stay up at night writing love poetry to the deep, intrepid blacks of your old plasma TV, Sony's XBR65X900F LED TV is a solid stand-in. Its X-tended Dynamic Range PRO technology offers up to six times the contrast of a standard LED TV for the boldest blacks around. Its brights are brighter, too, with a vivid Triluminos display and X-Motion Clarity that keeps the action — whether that's game seven of the NBA finals or Jason Bourne beating up some thugs who deserve it — crisp and full of contrast.

Like many of the other TVs on this list, the Sony XBR65X900F features Dolby Vision and comes with a 1-year warranty. It's available from Amazon for $1,798 and is compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Comparison Table Data

Product

Image


Details

Price

Sony XBR-65A8F

Sony XBR65A8F 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart BRAVIA OLED TV (2018 Model)

Display type: OLED
Screen size:
65 inches
Resolution:
4K
Connectivity:
Built-in WiFi
HDMI ports:
4
Warranty:
1 year

LG 65SK9500PUA

LG Electronics 65SK9000PUA 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2018...

Display type: LED
Screen size:
65 inches
Resolution:
4K
Connectivity:
Built-in WiFi
HDMI ports:
4
Warranty:
1 year

LG OLED65C7P

LG Electronics OLED65C7P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV (2017...

Display type: OLED
Screen size:
65 inches
Resolution:
4K
Connectivity:
Built-in WiFi
HDMI ports:
4
Warranty:
1 year

Samsung UN65LS003AFXZA

Samsung UN65LS003AFXZA Flat 65' LED 4K UHD The Frame SmartTV 2017

Display type: LED
Screen size:
65 inches
Resolution:
4K
Connectivity:
Built-in WiFi
HDMI ports:
4
Warranty:
1 year

LG OLED65E8PUA

LG Electronics OLED65E8PUA 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV (2018...

Display type: OLED
Screen size:
65 inches
Resolution:
4K
Connectivity:
Built-in WiFi
HDMI ports:
4
Warranty:
1 year

LG OLED65B8PUA

LG Electronics OLED65B8PUA 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV (2018...

Display type: OLED
Screen size:
65 inches
Resolution:
4K
Connectivity:
Built-in WiFi
HDMI ports:
4
Warranty:
1 year

Sony XBR65X900F

Sony XBR65X900F 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2018 Model)

Display type: LED
Screen size:
65 inches
Resolution:
4K
Connectivity:
Built-in WiFi
HDMI ports:
4
Warranty:
1 year

Best Plasma TV

Our Final Thoughts

The LG OLED65C8PUA is our top pick to replace your plasma TV. It features the high contrast, deep blacks and bright colors that a plasma TV would offer, and it presents them in a slim package with a sharp 4K OLED display and smart TV technology, including both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa compatibility. Its onboard Dolby Atmos sound doesn't touch what you'll get with an old school receiver and speakers set-up, but it is a cut above similarly-priced OLED and LED TVs. This MVP of LG's world-class lineup is a little pricier than some (but not all) of the other televisions in this guide, but you get what you pay for. In the LG OLED65C8PUA's case, you're paying for a terrific centerpiece for your next Jean-Claude Van Damme movie marathon.

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