For years I have been wanting a Panasonic plasma. Almost bought one three years ago until by chance, I won an LG display at a trade show. The LG display was a top-of-the-line THX certified 3D plasma and I have been rather pleased with it.
But with Panasonic announcing it was stopping production on its displays, I suddenly realized that this would be the last opportunity for me to own what many consider to be the absolute best plasma available, the ZT series.
My goal was to buy the 65" ZT display this very morning....
...that is, until I actually saw one on display today.
I took a trip to visit my friend, Robert Zohn. He owns Value Electronics located in the cozy town of Scarsdale, NY.
He has a Panasonic ZT 65" mounted on the wall next to the Samsung 64" F8500. Both were showing the same identical demo content consisting of various daytime and nighttime sequences designed to show off different levels of HD.
It was very clear to the both of us that the Samsung had the better picture -- so much so, that the Panasonic ZT looked almost lifeless next to it. The Samsung was pushing a brighter picture (both displays were maximized in luminance), and you could see far more detail and sharpness. The Panasonic looked dull next to it.
Blacks? I would say that the Panasonic probably had 2% better blacks than the Samsung, but it was only slightly more pronounced when the demo material went totally black, displaying nothing but the television logo.
I could not have been more frustrated by what I saw. Robert Zohn told me that everyone that has seen both displays side-by-side show the same frustration. He explained that the novices generally immediately select the Samsung over the Panasonic. However, the purists will pick the Panasonic purely for the deepest levels of black that they can get....
...but for me, the black levels were negligible while the Samsung clearly had more picture pop to it.
This is really killing me, because I have been programmed to believe that the Panasonic ZT series is the Kuro killer. To pick anything else would be buying a vastly superior product.....yes?
...but to my eyes, that Samsung didn't look a little better --- it looked vastly better. It even won the Value Electronics shootout over the Panasonic ZT, by the slimmest of margins, just because of the level of luminance and detail.
Want to get one of these displays in my home next week. So, I have a day or two to make my decision. I know I am about to get a wealth of conflicting opinions, but perhaps as I wade through them, I will get a clearer idea of which display I should choose.
Looking forward to any input.