I’m not mourning the death of plasma.
Back in 2013 I picked up a 55" Panasonic ST60 when the whole series was on its discounted death bed- one of the first big purchases I made with that sweet sweet Gawker money. In a pitch black room with the right viewing angles and the right content and all the stars aligned, the picture was stunning, but most of the time it was a 600Hz 3D albatross.
The ST60 gobbled up electricity and generated enough heat to mean running the air conditioner when I otherwise wouldn’t, and any ambient light whatsoever required the dynamic brightness setting, which exacerbated the aforementioned issues. That all paled in comparison to the failings of the operating system.
These days my smart TVs are smart enough. Smart enough that I don’t turn on my Playstation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, or Roku 3 unless I have to. Every menu, every screen, every built-in advertisement (!) of the ST line was unusable, and you had a better chance of getting a camel to walk through the eye of a needle than of a system update (over Wifi OR on a flash drive) to go through without failing.
Three years later I sold my ST60 for $200 less than I bought it for- one of the best perks of buying nice things.
In the past 4 months I bought two Vizio 4K M Series TVs (ridiculously cheaply (and had Amazon mount one of them)). They’re thin, beautiful, they run cool, and between their excellent upscaling engine and the slew of quality television coming out of Netflix and Amazon, the 4K is more than worth it.
Critically though, I can stream Netflix, Amazon, or media from my devices without turning on another box, and with an interface that’s 95% of the way to being on par with said boxes. Firmware updates happen overnight, and I don’t need a basement home theater or a running air conditioner to stream Carnivàle.
Shane Roberts is Gawker’s Director of Commerce. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter.
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