Has LED caught up to Plasma?

I know that the plasma tv's in the past were always considered to be better than the LED or LCD formats. I'm wondering if this is still the case. With improvements in technology, has the gap narrowed? I bought a 42" Panasonic Plasma over 8 years ago (and yes, it's still working...wished it would have died by now! lol) and am looking to upgrade to a new 55" tv. In all honestly, when I chose plasma back then, I thought the picture quality of both the plasmas and the LED/LCD models were both very good. Even though my plasmas has lasted all these past 8 years, my big concern is that they do heat up quite a bit....where LED's run much cooler. I'm thinking this might translate into a longer life with and LED tv instead of a plasma. What would you buy today if you were buying??? Plasma or LED?
In my opinion, plasma is still superior to LCD. The LED lighting is more energy efficient than plasma but I wouldn't make a decision based on that. Modern plasma does run cooler than the older models. Remember, it's no an LED display. It's still LCD with LED lighting.

Besides what Wendell stated LED's tend to be brighter where Plasma has a better color contrast. Depends on your preferences.

That being said I read OLED should be arriving soon. That would be a true LED TV. Supposed to be brighter and richer without any backlight. I still have a tube set and am personally waiting for the OLED LOL.
In a word, no. Plasma is still the closest display to the standards set by direct view CRT. I too have high hopes on the OLED technology and hope that my current tv holds out till the OLED tv's are priced low enough for me to afford.
I have looked at the different LED, LCD and DLP displays and always migrate back to the plasma. The sad news is that (rumor only at this point) Panasonic and possibly Sony have plans to stop making TV's. I have only heard that from one source, a dealer, and haven't researched it. Maybe some else here can chime in with more valid evidence of this actually happening. In advance I appologize to anyone offended by my plasma preference, I mean no discredit to your buying decision. All is my opinion based upon what I see. YMMV
Post removed 
I concur that plasma is still quite a bit better. The color seems better than LED because the plasma actually does blacks quite a bit better. It also still looks better for motion, especially sports. Since I watch mostly sports or classic films, plasma is the clear choice for me.

About the rumors that plasma will not be made by Panasonic and Sony, I believe that that is only for models smaller than 50".
Post removed 
i actually spent (too much of) the weekend looking at tvs with a friend and conclude thusly:
1. the overall quality and technological sophistication of flat panels, esp. at the near-giveaway prices, is really incredible
2. to my eyes, the top leds (samsung, sony) have the most vivid, detailed pictures--surprising, since i thought plasma was still the superior technology. the leds do run a lot cooler, too.
3. motion blur on lcd/led seem to be a thing of the past--it doesn't seem to be much more of a factor than on plasma. viewing angles are still much better on plasma.
4. traditional (non-led) lcd tvs are significantly less sharp than the good leds and plasmas; it looks like manufacturers are phasing out the larger size lcds. there are also fewer 720p models out, probably because manufacturing costs of 1080 have gotten so cheap.
5. wearing glasses to watch 3D is really annoying.
The new Sharp Elite might be a game changer, an LED that outperforms plasmas, albeit at a pretty hefty price. Plasma still offers the best value, IMHO.
Sadly every time you're at BB or a similar store;you don't get to see tv as you see it at home.--They stay away from movies with dark scenes that expose the weakness of milky blacks/and no detail within the blacks you do see.
I guess your average viewer doesn't mind that the colors they see on these demo tvs clips don't look anything like the actual colors. My example: NEVER saw grass the color of grass on most every display at the big box stores. Even the color of the uniforms in these showrooms clips isn't the actual color /if you were at the game.
I guess "DA-glow" color renditions sell more tvs and that's how it has been for years.----And if you like colors more real-life,like and proper grey scale plasma still has the "edge"--pun intended.
To clarify, the rumor I heard was that Panasonic and Sony would quit making TV's of all types. I don't think Sony has made a plasma for quite sometime. I hope it is only a rumor as my next TV was going to be a Panasonic.
The new Sharp LEDs are stupid good.
I have BOTH -I prefer my Panasonic plasma by a good margin vs. my Sony LED set -The Sony unit makes everything look like it was recorded on a camcorder..Its clear,with great color, but not filmlike ala the plasma...
avguygeorge makes a good point--the demo material at the store are juiced-up bluray played in a brightly lit room, which may not be representative of how the tv will perform at home on broadcast (often non-hd) material. the stuff i watch (pawn stars, military channel) looks much better on my ancient 480p panasonic plasma than on my fancy modern 1080 samsung lcd, perhaps because video tends to look better closer to its native resolution.
IMO Panasonic and Sony are the best TV's available. Only ones I buy. What are they going to make, I wonder, if not TV's?
Addition to my previous post, obviously they make other electronics. I would just think TV's are a major moneymaker.
CRT is better than allof'em.

Had 2007 model of Panasonic Viera 42" plazma. Nice picture although not too many adjustment options. Consumes 4...5x more energy than CRT! Recently the digital board blew off. Part itself worth more than remaining value of TV. Tried to pitch it $225 to Pawn America hoping that after the break would turn back on for 5m, didn't happen darn! Destined to stay in basement full of dust and spider web.

Modern LCDs or LEDs don't promise any reliability in the future only to be disposable entities no matter how much you're paying for'em. So my advise don't buy'em used eva 'n stretch for the warranty plan because they will FUBAR.

Found on CL used Sony 32" full HD CRT $80 and this unit has superior quality than any of flat screens mentioned and will ever be made LED LCD or plazma. The only downside is limited size. The largest flat screen CRT ever been manufactured is only 34".

Plan to buy more of them:-) in case your flats will break or you'd like to see a better picture, drop me a note and I'll resell these units $250 firm.
Your premise is wrong. Plasma was surpassed by LED with the Sony Qualia 005 in 2004. You would have to see one to believe how good a tv can look when it reproduces the entire color spectrum. As far as I know, NO LCD tv reproduces the full NTSC broadcast spectrum.
Lloydc, I believe many would suggest that the very(!) expensive Qualia 2005 LEDs performance was surpassed by the Pioneer Elite Kuro plasma. Of course it's a moot issue, neither are readily available today.
interesting that we are happy when a tv lasts 8 years now.
I think if the original poster indeed that that Plasma and LCD "both looked very good" years ago when the LCD shortcomings were painfully obvious that perhaps he is one of the lucky who dont have a critical eye for video anyway so if LCD seems a better bet to him just buy it. Its clear Plasma is still king but LCD is gaining on it.
Paulsax, I don't think we're "happy" about TV's lasting only 8 years, but I doubt many of us have the wherewithal to build our own longer lasting TV's.:-)
Marakantetz, that was true not that long ago, but not anymore. CRT's might have been more durable, but they can't perform as well as today's better sets.
Your wrong Unsound,
The CRT HD monitor at 1080i, 720p is still deeper, richer, smoother and more natural than any plasma or lcd/led. They are big and heavy but they are also still just plain better images. My 30in Sony XBR Wega Trinitron hd widescreen will smoke Pioneer Elites of old, current Panasonics, Samsungs, flatscreen Bravias, any of them and anyone is welcome to have me show them. 1080p at the 30in level is simply not a factor either.
Another advantage of plasma over LCD or LED is that it can be viewed from any angle - the picture does not look wrong even viewed from an extreme angle, as it does with LCD and LED. This is quite important at my house, where I am usually viewing at an angle.
Lear made a great and often overlooked point, its a huge one!
Post removed 
I have a 100in projector, a 58in and 46in plasma, 2 22in lcd monitors in bar and the 30in crt. I also have old sd crt units around pool table, craft room office and guest bed. My point is its still the best pic (the hd Sony) even if its bedroom material these days, my master is 14x24 so its doable otherwise would likely be gone.
Obviously I fall into the same camp as Elizabeth. Though flat panels are still challenged to meet SMPTE, never mind THX standards for size to distance, other than as front projectors, in most real situations CRTs are woefully incapable.
Not that long ago, the various alternate technologies poor black levels were so distracting that I couldn't help but long for a CRT. With the emergence of the Sony Qualia front projector and Pioneer Elite Pro Kuro, that all changed. Now one could and can enjoy true or close to cinema like immersion without that nagging feeling that something is amiss.
For me the other way arround: Having seen the huge projection ones with 50+ inch diagonal was literally a joke compared to clean 30...34" CRT.
Was not impressed by 60" plazmas as well. Way to far from being crystal clear and natural colors are literally unreachable. Having the fact that these huge $3k+ TVs are disposable in few years bring me even more far from impression.
Plasmas will soon be a thing of the past.
Room light levels are still an issue. The new LCDs hold up better in a very bright room. Plasmas can wash out in high light situations. My family room is loaded with windows and, as much as I wanted the Panasonic plasma, it just was not going to work in my light situation. I ended up getting a gorilla glass 60" Sony. The glass is reflective when the sun is directly on the TV, straight on to the TV, but ambient light and off angle light is just not an issue. The picture is bright enough to work fine. Just something to consider.
Chadnliz, unless your watching the Sony 30" from 4', I can't help but wonder if you'd feel the same way if the picture on the Sony 30" was blown up to the same size as your 100" projector screen.
Hey, if that's your impression, who am I to say your wrong.
Recently picked up a 50" Plasma so I put my 34" Sony CRT into the bedroom. It amazes me that EVERY person I've asked sez the plasma's the better TV when it's SO clear to me that the Sony's got the better picture. I guess we truly are a "if it's bigger, it's better" society!
Chazro, the size thing usually has to do with distance from the screen. If your TV is in your bedroom, you are probably viewing from a closer distance than normal, so the smaller size may very well be better. For those of us that watch in the living room from a much further distance, you might be very surprised at the difference the bigger screen makes, especially on the eyes. You can look up guidelines for screen size vs. viewing distance from several different great sources on the web. For my viewing distance of 9 feet, my 50" plasma is barely big enough. I used to view a 32" from that distance, though, and was amazed at how much easier it is on the eyes to watch with the bigger screen.

Another big factor is whether or not your 50" plasma has been calibrated correctly. After you have had it on for at least 200 hours, you should have it professionally calibrated, and watch the guy do it so you can do it yourself in the future, as I did. This was some of the best money my wife ever spent, let me tell you - it was a huge difference! Those things are calibrated initially so they look good in a salesroom - they look quite a bit different in any home environment, and need to be calibrated accordingly. I think the same goes for the LEDs, etc., but I know it is true of the plasmas in particular.
You dont need to spend hundreds on calibration, there are several diy options on disc or you can always trust your own eyes. There is little that cant be done by the user with some research, education and discs offered for a fraction of the money some/most charge.
IMO no. Plasma still offers a better color spectrum compared to LED. LED has one thing, brightness and most people have no clue their TV's are running far to bright and are clipping white etc.

IMO nothing can beat a good Plasma that has been prof calibrated. I have a JVC PJ is my HT and use a Panny 50" VT series in the bedroom.

I also plan on getting another panny plasma 65" as IMO nothing else really compares yet. LED doesn't handle motion as well and I have not been impressed on how some of the sets calibrate.
Tube vs?
Many people love sound of tubes. Well, I love the picture.
Thanks for everyone's responses. I went to a few retailers the past couple days and did some preliminary shopping. From what I saw, the plasma screens are indeed better than the LED's. I had my heart set on the very thin bezel on the Samsung LED 7000/8000 series tv's (very sexy!) but in the end, I think I'm going to have to go with the latest VT series of the Panny plasma. The last installment of the Star Wars saga playing on the 65" VT Panasonic plasma was stunning! So now my question is this (and this goes back to my fear of the heat generated by plasmas), would you buy the extended warranty?
I've had a 50" Panny plasma for almost 6 years. For various reasons it's on I'd say almost 18 hours a day and I've never had a problem. I have it hooked up to an APC power conditioner with power regulation (we have frequent power outages/brown outs here) so not sure how much that may be helping, but I think the extended warranty is not necessary. If anything's going to go wrong it usually happens within the first year (or first few months), and the factory warranty would cover that. Love my TV by the way, and I'd buy another Panny plasma in a heartbeat.
Extended warranty is in almost all cases simply to remove more money from a customers wallet. My Panasonic plas has a in home 12 month warranty parts and service. Studies show this type gear if its going to fail it will right away, well within provided warranty or its most likely to work just fine, problems crop up quickly with few exceptions and extended service plans are almost pure profit as retailers know these facts.
Yes, definitely put a power conditioner on whatever TV you buy. The difference and improvement is immediate and obvious. Plug yout TV converter box and DVD player in also while you're at it.
Calgarian5355 - Samsung's are very sexy looking, but I do not think think they have the best picture. I think the current Sony line-up is better than Samsung. To me, Samsung is the brightest of the LCD/LEDs but not as crisp. When you turn the brightness down to normal levels, they just do not have the cripsness. But, if you room light levels allow and you do not mind the power drain the V series Panasonic plasma's are very, very good.
Ptm, yes, I already have a power conditioner, and yes, it does do amazing things for the video quality.

There has been a few responses referring to the power usage of plasma screens vs LED...so I was doing a bit of comparison. A 55" LED screen used approximately 38 watts, while a similar sized plasma screen used 120 watts. Yes, it appears that LED tv's use much less power, but I was rather surprised by the numbers to begin with. It's hard to believe that a big plasma screen only uses 120 watts....that's like little more than your typical light bulb.

On another topic, has anyone upgraded their power cords on their tvs? Since the screens are so thin, it's kind of hard to do if you wanted it mounted very close to the wall.....
Right angle cords can be had for those installs
Nope...new LED's are now better. The high end LED's are 3D, but you can switch that off.
Plasma still does deeper blacks, smoother motion and offer best viewing angle, ultra premium priced LED models narrow the gap but the vast majority of people truely in the know of video quality still understand Plasma is king. 3d just hasnt caught on and besides thats a different debate than pure best video quality. LED has the great slim look and better energy ratings but again thats just not what this debate is about.
The latest Pioneer backlit LED looks mighty fine. $8K.

I don't disagree with Unsound above; Pioneer's best plasmas were great. As in audio, there are advantages to each technology, and tastes vary.
For $8k you can get a LCD that still cant quite match a Plasma at half or less the cost, its that simple.
Chadnliz, your might want to read this:
One article isnt enough to sway the debate, LCD is good and gaining fast but as of yet its still the Plasma eho is king. That may change shortly