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My dilemma: Panasonic ZT vs. Samsung F8500


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#1 of 308 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted November 06 2013 - 08:34 AM

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.

 

 


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#2 of 308 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted November 06 2013 - 09:40 AM

I'll repeat what I stated beforehand to you.  I would go with the display that gives you the most pleasing picture to your eyes. If that's the Samsung then buy it. Besides pricing/warranty, remember to take in consideration your home viewing environment in making that decision. Viewing distance, ambient light and such.  Both, Dave and Kevin make excellent points about the lighting so I can't stress your home viewing environment enough in making your final decision.


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#3 of 308 OFFLINE   TheBat

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Posted November 06 2013 - 09:45 AM

Robert is right. I would suggest looking at other panasonic tvs before you make up your mind.. try the vt series. you might like that one better. I have a gt25 that I got a few years back. I want to upgrade in size. for me its a no brainer about getting another panasonic.

 

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#4 of 308 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted November 06 2013 - 09:48 AM

Man, I wish I could justify getting ZT model, but I can't since I just bought a VT last year at this time and a GT model for my bedroom in two years ago.  I'm very happy with both displays.


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#5 of 308 OFFLINE   FoxyMulder

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Posted November 06 2013 - 09:49 AM

If you want the best possible 3D then the Samsung will give it to you as it can go much brighter, i think you will want that as you like your 3D content and that Samsung will work well for you.

 

I do hear image retention is slightly better on the Panasonic this year, the Samsung E6500 i have doesn't get any at all, it's the main reason i went for it, that and the fact the black level was good enough for me, i think there is not a huge difference in black levels between the Samsung and Panasonic this year, the extra brightness the Samsung provides will make it's image pop better simply because great light output coupled with great black levels makes for a pleasing image.

 

http://www.hdtvtest....01305012945.htm

 

The review above might help you decide, i actually watched the Value Electronics shootout live on the webcast.


Edited by FoxyMulder, November 06 2013 - 09:59 AM.

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#6 of 308 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted November 06 2013 - 09:54 AM

If you want the best possible 3D then the Samsung will give it to you as it can go much brighter and has full resolution 3D.

The one possible shortcoming the Pannys have is that their 3-D performance isn't quite as good as some other manufacturer models.  It's good enough for me, but others might feel diffrently as Ron likes to watch a lot of 3-D and does many reviews of such films.


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#7 of 308 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted November 06 2013 - 10:10 AM

When you say the Samsung has full resolution 3D what does that exactly mean?

Both use active shutter glasses which provide full HD resolution as opposed to passive

I am not sure I like the Samsung glasses as you have to replace battery rather than the ability to recharge.

And, Robert, what shortcomings do you find in the Panasonic 3D?

 

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#8 of 308 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted November 06 2013 - 10:25 AM

When you say the Samsung has full resolution 3D what does that exactly mean?

Both use active shutter glasses which provide full HD resolution as opposed to passive

I am not sure I like the Samsung glasses as you have to replace battery rather than the ability to recharge.

And, Robert, what shortcomings do you find in the Panasonic 3D?

Shortcomings is probably the wrong word to use, some have rated the Panasonic 3-D performance as good, but not as high as Samsung.


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#9 of 308 OFFLINE   FoxyMulder

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Posted November 06 2013 - 10:26 AM

When you say the Samsung has full resolution 3D what does that exactly mean?

Both use active shutter glasses which provide full HD resolution as opposed to passive

I am not sure I like the Samsung glasses as you have to replace battery rather than the ability to recharge.

And, Robert, what shortcomings do you find in the Panasonic 3D?

 

You can use Panasonic 3D glasses with the Samsung, i use the 2012 ones with my set.

 

I'll use the site i linked above now.  The Samsung uses a different method for their 3D and it gives you full resolution, the Panasonic method can bring jagged edges/aliasing into the image, at least according to the review site i hang out at.

 

The Panasonic TX-P55VT65B also uses the Multiline Simultaneous Scanning Method, which effectively means that the highest contrast (most visible) changes in the picture are drawn at full resolution, but intermediate brightness steps are drawn at the equivalent of 540p. It’s an interesting technique which has clearly been deployed for good reason.


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#10 of 308 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted November 06 2013 - 10:34 AM

Ron,

 

A few more reviews. Tom Norton actually gives the Panny a slightly better 3-D rating.

 

http://www.soundandv...-3d-plasma-hdtv

 

http://www.soundandv...-3d-plasma-hdtv

 

Note: the Samsung review is the 60" model.


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#11 of 308 OFFLINE   Type A

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Posted November 06 2013 - 10:39 AM

My input?  You are extremely  lucky.  You actually had the opportunity to view both in a direct side-by-side comparison using, what I assume, is a calibrated display mode.   We should all be that lucky.   Seems to me you should be the one providing opinions rather than the one asking for them.   Go with what your heart tells you and remember, the looser panel will not be in your home to provide buyer's remorse.  


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#12 of 308 OFFLINE   FoxyMulder

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Posted November 06 2013 - 10:45 AM

Ron,

 

A few more reviews. Tom Norton actually gives the Panny a slightly better 3-D rating.

 

http://www.soundandv...-3d-plasma-hdtv

 

http://www.soundandv...-3d-plasma-hdtv

 

Note: the Samsung review is the 60" model.

 

Interesting, it does say a firmware update would be released to fix some of the 3D issues, i wonder if the HDTV folks had a set with this updated firmware as they usually spot things like the above, maybe Ronald needs to audition both sets in a dark room with 3D material and see which one is better to his eyes.


     :Fun Movie Quotes:

"A good body with a dull brain is as cheap as life itself"   

"Maybe it's a sheep dog... let's keep going" 

"Please doctor, I've got to ask this. It sounds like, well, just as though you're describing some form of super carrot"

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#13 of 308 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted November 06 2013 - 10:49 AM

Interesting, it does say a firmware update would be released to fix some of the 3D issues, i wonder if the HDTV folks had a set with this updated firmware as they usually spot things like the above, maybe Ronald needs to audition both sets in a dark room with 3D material and see which one is better to his eyes.

Let's be honest, I don't think Ron will go wrong with either display.


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#14 of 308 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted November 06 2013 - 10:59 AM

Here is the problem...and no-one should take what I am about to say personally....

 

My gut tells me to go with the Samsung F8500 having seen it in person.

 

However, people whose opinions I have very high respect for are urging

me to go with the Panasonic ZT.

 

True, I saw both displays in a room that was fairly well lit.  I will be watching

the display in a totally blackened home theater.

 

And everything I read about the demise of plasma is due to the fact that people

see them in brightly lit stores next to an LCD that outputs brighter light and get

fooled into thinking that LCD is the better display format.

 

In this case, I could be fooled by the heightened amount of light output of the

Samsung.

 

Then I read reviews on Amazon like this.  Yeah, I know, it's an Amazon review

but it kind of agrees with my gut instinct about the Samsung model...

 

 

I own a Kuro, had the VT60 for a month and now have the 8500. The Kuro is still spectacular but it is 50" and I wanted a larger TV. I bought the VT60 based on expert reviews. The blacks were very good as was the sound but for me, there was always something missing. I went to BB to compare the two and watched the VT and 8500 side by side for quite a while. It is always hard to make judgments based on what you see in a store but to me the 8500 had much whiter whites and also a lot more detail. I figured this was just a settings issue. I ended up returning the VT because of the fan noise. It doesn't bother some people but I couldn't ignore it. When the dialog was quiet, I could always hear fan noise and I started waiting for it. Panasonic has since come up with a potential fix that seems to work for some people but it seemed ridiculous that I would need to have my brand new TV worked on for a fix that may or may not work.

That was more than enough to convince me to return the VT for an 8500. Now the 8500 is not perfect either. The first one I got had an issue where it would flash a duplicate issue on the screen when Black Optimizer was on. Samsung's response to my inquiry about this was just to not use the feature. That was helpful. So once again, I had to box up another 64"+ TV and send it back and my wife let me know how much she enjoyed that!

To me, the 8500 is the most complete TV currently available. Once the settings are adjusted, it has blacks that are just a touch below the VT and the difference is not noticeable in most circumstances. It has brightness that allows it to do well in non man cave environments unlike most plasmas. I didn't realize what I was missing with the VT and Kuro until I got the 8500. The detail it produces is amazing. The TV is much more of a smart TV than the VT. The apps are much better and it's ability to interact and control a cable or sat box is cool. I also like the small things like the LED power light is off when watching TV. The VT has a glowing red light when you were watching the TV which was annoying with no option to turn it off.

Now the 8500 isn't perfect either. My first one had the black optimizer issue. The sound isn't as good as on the VT. I haven't had much luck with voice commands but that was never very important to me. People have reported buzz. I can hear some if I turn sit directly in front of the very middle of the screen and turn my head sideways. This is not my normal TV viewing position so I never hear the buzz while watching TV which is very important after the VT fan noise. All in all I am thrilled with the TV and its shortcomings are minor compared to its positive traits.

 

 

The mention of detail is what really hit home.

 

The Samsung displayed far more detail than the Panasonic.  It was night and day.


 

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#15 of 308 OFFLINE   TheBat

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Posted November 06 2013 - 11:04 AM

When you say the Samsung has full resolution 3D what does that exactly mean?

Both use active shutter glasses which provide full HD resolution as opposed to passive

I am not sure I like the Samsung glasses as you have to replace battery rather than the ability to recharge.

And, Robert, what shortcomings do you find in the Panasonic 3D?

 

the first 3d glasses were a battery on the panasonic. they switched to battery charger on the second and third edition. the 3d glasses released in 2012 will not work on the 3d sets before 2012. I have the third generation one from before 2012 when they changed it. they worked great. very compfortable when wearing them. for the most part you never notice that you are wearing them. worked great on many 3d movies.  I think you might find less problems with the 3d on panasonic then the LG. A least on my 50 inch.. but maybe going bigger will show more problems. I have no idea.

 

 

Jacob



#16 of 308 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted November 06 2013 - 11:13 AM

How is it dealing with battery 3D glasses? My LG is rechargeable and I like that option. The new Panny are the same. However, the Samsung glasses are battery and for some reason that worries me. How often do these batteries need replacing?

 

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#17 of 308 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted November 06 2013 - 11:14 AM

Reviewing both of them with luminance cranked is hardly a good idea, what's up with that? Torch mode? :( I suspect something was very wrong either electronically or with the calibration of the panasonicn(if not the selection of torch mode, could be any factor), if it was enough for you to call it lifeless. I'd have checked out the picture in the OOTB THX mode just to see the difference personally.

But.

I'd wager that once in your home without other distractions, in lighting you are used to and either after 'real calibration or simply in the THX mode it would be awesome. Ultimately You'll be super happy with either of them.

But.

I don't know that I would buy a top of the line Plasma today vice a comparatively lower priced more mainstream model. I am very happy with my VT50 but I don't know that I have gotten more 'value' from the bells and whistles it has over the one one step down.

Of course, I prefer PJs myself so take that all with a grain of salt =)

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#18 of 308 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted November 06 2013 - 11:22 AM

This is my opinion: If you are relying on torch mode level output to compensate for ambient lighting you are doing it wrong. Either control the lighting or if that is not possible buy a mainstream LCD display that will handle the poor lighting about as well and save you the money over the premium plasma that would have been wasted in an un-optimal viewing environment from the start.

For the record my VT-50 is just fine in daylight viewing despite have 6 large double stack windows in the room with it. Black out blinds work wonders although you can still see them reflected in the screen in many (not my main) seating positions. YMMV.

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#19 of 308 OFFLINE   FoxyMulder

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Posted November 06 2013 - 11:27 AM

How is it dealing with battery 3D glasses? My LG is rechargeable and I like that option. The new Panny are the same. However, the Samsung glasses are battery and for some reason that worries me. How often do these batteries need replacing?

 

I suspect they will last a very long time, maybe there is a manual you can download online somewhere that will tell you, it's fairly simple to replace these batteries, having said that i do not like Samsung 3D glasses, mine are in a drawer now and i use Panasonic ones due to the fact i wear glasses and they fit better around the ears.


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"A good body with a dull brain is as cheap as life itself"   

"Maybe it's a sheep dog... let's keep going" 

"Please doctor, I've got to ask this. It sounds like, well, just as though you're describing some form of super carrot"

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#20 of 308 OFFLINE   Gregg Loewen

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Posted November 07 2013 - 08:30 AM

Nice dilemma !


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