Help newbie: Best Plasma screen

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Anish, Jul 27, 2002.

  1. Anish

    Anish Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi,

    I am new in the market for a Plasma screen display for my new home. I have been reading up quite a bit for research purposes to find the best plasma screen display to buy. My parents are fixed on the notion that anything from Sony electronics kicks ass, so Sony/Panasonic is all that my dad buys.

    I was wondering if some of the experts in this forum can enlighten me as to what brands would be the best to consider for plasma screen displays. I am looking at the 50" size (61" is a possibility but might be too expensive). I would be primarily using it for DVDs and of course regular cable/satellite TV. I would look into getting Direct TV satellite... but if not that, then I would get digital cable.

    Please suggest what displays would be the best in the market right now.

    Thank you for your help.
     
  2. Corey Holter

    Corey Holter Agent

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    Anish,

    I have a 42" Panasonic plasma and am very pleased. From reading done at avsforum.com (recommended site for plasma research, BTW), it would appear that the best 50" plasma's are: Panasonic, Pioneer, and Fujitsu (roughly in that order). The Sony plasmas are not there just yet.
     
  3. Anish

    Anish Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Corey. I did see the 42" Panasonic here in the local store and it looks sweet! Now I would be interested in a 50" Panasonic. I am assuming that the th50pwd3u is the latest 50" from Panasonic, or is that their old one? I don't see a 50" on their website currently. All I see is the PT-42PD3-P which is a 42".

    Edit: I just saw a LINK on the panasonic site, off the 42" page to these models: PT-50PD3-P, PT-42PHD4-P and PT-50PHD4-P.

    Specifically looking at the PT50PD3P and the PT50PHD4P, both are HDTV/EDTV compatible and do progressive scan. But are there any recommendations from you guys between the two?
     
  4. DanielSmi

    DanielSmi Second Unit

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    I saw the Pioneer Elite Pro-1000HD and it was the best plasma I've seen I even looked better the than the $30,000 Runco unfortunately this one cost 17,500 but they did come out with a 43" ( called the 800HD) version and that one 12,000 but you can pick it up online for about 6-7 thousand. I also seen a Sony and they didn't look any where near as good as the Pioneer.

    Daniel Smith
     
  5. Dean McManis

    Dean McManis Agent

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    I really like the Panasonic plasma TVs best (TH-50PHD3U is the newest). The black levels and contrast are the best that I've seen in a plasma display, especially considering the $7K street price.

    I also like all of the 50" Pioneer plasma displays that I've seen, and the Pioneer PDP-503CMX looks like it will have expansion for digital inputs to make it potentially less prone to obsolescence.

    -Dean.
     
  6. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    I spent a good bit of the last couple of weekends looking at various displays. I was not able to compare directly, the Pioneer Elite models against the Panasonics. Both were very good, and certainly both would dispel most of the ecstatic objections held about plasma screens (such as poor black rendition).

    My preference was for the Elite. Price was the only thing keeping me from acquiring it today. I was able to do a side-by-side comparison for this screen against the Sony. For me the Elite was a clear winner. BTW, I just purchased a Sony 16:9 tube, preferring it to all other tube models I was able to view, so I’m not anti-Sony.

    It’s just that the Elite is so very good. And so very expensive.
     
  7. Anish

    Anish Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Lew,

    Thanks for the recommendation on the Pioneer Elite 50" plasma screen TV. If you don't mind me asking, what was the price of it when you went to see it?

    I was on the Pioneer site and I tried to click on the "PRO-1000HD: 50" Elite Plasma" link and it was dead. The other 50" plasma link was "PDP-505HD: 50" Plasma". Do you know what the difference is between the two TVs? I don't know why the link to the elite plasma screen was dead.

    As for Pioneer Elite vs. Panasonic (what is the top of the line 50" model now?) have you had a chance to do a side-by-side comparison between those two? Do you have any idea which would be better in terms of image quality... or even external features?

    Edit: Here are the Panasonic model #s that are on their website now:

    1. PT-50PD3-P 50” diag. Wide-Screen HDTV Plasma Display
    2. PT-50PHD4-P 50" Diagonal Widescreen Plasma Display HDTV Monitor

    Now, I don't know what this models is and how it corresponds to the above 2 models. Can anyone shed any light on this:

    3. TH-50PHD3U

    Thanks for your help.

    Anish
     
  8. Rich H

    Rich H Second Unit

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    Anish,

    First of all, I believe the two Pioneer models you've mentioned are functionally the same. The difference being that the "Elite" model has the shiny black Urishi (sp?)frame. Pioneer charges extra for the Elite model, but you'll get the same performance from the cheaper model (same glass/electronics are used - despite what a salesman might try and tell you in order to sell you the Elite model).

    As for the Pioneer 50" plasmas vs. the Panasonic 50" plasmas, I have compared these side-by-side many times in several stores and the differences have been consistent each time. The Pioneer is brighter and has more vibrant "punchier" color than the Panasonic. The Panasonic is a little darker and slightly muted looking when directly compared to the Pioneer. The more vivid colors and brightness of the Pioneer give the impression it looks a bit crisper or sharper. But in fact the Panasonic is just as sharp if you examine both closely.
    But, I and some other people actually prefer the Panasonic.
    This is because the Panasonic offers perhaps the smoothest plasma picture available. The Pioneer will display more "noise" in the picture - more tiny swirling patterns and blotchiness within larger areas of colour. As well, I see more "crispiness" or jaggedness to image outlines on the Pioneer, whereas the Panasonic is just amazingly smooth.
    The Pioneer has very good blacks, but the Panasonic's blacks are better. DVDs on the Panasonic look smoother and more film-like. They images don't have as much "jump" as the Pioneer, but, again, neither do they have the added artifacts either.

    You can't go wrong with either screen. One's first impression when seeing the Pioneer beside the Panny is to be attracted to the Pioneer's brighter display. But, in my experience looking at many, many plasmas, the Panasonic has the most natural, realistic look I've seen.

    (Well, the Fujitsu 5002 50" plasma is incredible too...but more expensive)

    Rich.
     
  9. Scott Cunninghm

    Scott Cunninghm Stunt Coordinator

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    I work with professional AV gear for a rental company. The only two plasmas on the market today that I really like are the 50" Pioneer 503MX, and the superb NEC 61".

    I look at them all day at the shop, and they blow the competition away. Pioneers go for about $10k wholesale, and the NEC's are about $15k.

    I just sold a super Pioneer 502MX (50") on ebay to a guy for $4500 used. He got a great deal, had under 1000 hours on it.
     
  10. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Anish,

    I think that Scott may have already answered your price question. As I recall the store where I viewed the Pioneer set their price at ~14,000USD. This was a high-end audio/videophile place in Dallas, so I’m sure that better prices are available.
     
  11. Jim FC

    Jim FC Stunt Coordinator

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    "Pioneer charges extra for the Elite model, but you'll get the same performance from the cheaper model (same glass/electronics are used - despite what a salesman might try and tell you in order to sell you the Elite model)."

    This is a very uninformed statement. They are not the same TV, any more than Pioneer's Elite RPTV is the same as their standard line, or Sony's XBRs are the same TVs as their high-scans. Because the two TVs share certain components does _not_ mean they are the same TV. That's akin to saying that the Camaro is the same car as the Corvette, other than the styling. Very untrue.

    This is not to say that the standard-line Pioneer is not a good TV - it is a VERY good TV, in fact, probably the second-best plasma I've seen, after the Elite! I do really like the Panasonics, too, BTW, but the Pioneers looke more colorful to me, with better black level.

    Other than comparing the two side-by-side, as Lew suggests, to see whic one looks better to your eyes, there is one big difference besides the fancy finish: the Elite has all its inputs on the unit itself, where the standard Pioneer requires the use of the separate & included "media reciever" to accept all your video inputs. I believe the standard-line model also comes with speakers. Hope this helps!
     
  12. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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  13. Dean McManis

    Dean McManis Agent

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    I agree with Rich about the "noise" on the Pioneers. I agree that the Pioneers are among the best looking Plasma displays, but closer up you can see what appears to be scaling artifacts, even with HD source material. Granted that this is seen only looking at the displays too closely (6' away), and most likely normal viewing distances would negate the problem,but I thought that the Panasonics did look a bit smoother, with slightly better blacks.

    The NEC 61" model is probably the best looking plasma display that I've seen so far, but I didn't mention it because they are around $20K.

    -Dean.
     
  14. Bill Lucas

    Bill Lucas Supporting Actor

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    Dean,

    Anyone who is committing to the price of a plasma TV should also have a scaler on their shopping list. The improvement in image quality over the internal scaler by adding something like a Native Rate Faroudja scaler is mind-boggling. It makes one wonder how they watched the TV without a scaler in the first place. Regards.
     
  15. Anish

    Anish Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Scott Cunningham,

    Thanks for your input with the Pioneers. I was wondering if you could tell me the difference between the 502, 503 and the current 505 that's on the Pioneer website. I assume that all 3 of those models are the "non Elite" line. Would I be better off buying the new 505 (that's on
    the website), than a 503 for example? Or are they both the same 50" plasma screen, just with a different name?

    BTW what is your name on ebay?

    Thanks for your help.

    Anish
     
  16. Rich H

    Rich H Second Unit

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    Jim FC (and Anish),

    My statements were not completely "uninformed." However, I can see how I should have gone into more detail, and how I could have confused the issue by saying the the Elite and the CMX model were "functionally" the same. As I said, I was talking about the performance of the Elite plasma vs the lower priced CMX model. Everything I've read has told me they are the same screen, with different input options.

    Here's one on-line quote (AVS forum) from a dealer when commenting on the difference between the Elite and lower-priced CMX model:

    "The video boards are identical except for the connectors (the 503 CMX has DVI, for example). This was completely verified by senior Pioneer reps at multiple trade shows, including CES 2002. Your friend may have been told that and may sincerely believe it, but there is no PQ difference AT ALL between the two."

    Someone else (who owns one of these plasmas, and who has researched the difference) wrote about the only differences:

    "comparing the pioneer 503 to the pioneer 1000 (elite):

    the 503 requires that you purchase an extra video board, the 5002. it is not included in the purchase price. without it, you cannot hook up rgb or component.

    the 1000 does come with a video board that will accept component and rgb, but not the 5002 board, (which is only needed if you also want DVI).

    the remote for the 1000 will only discretely select inputs 1,2,3,4. the 5002 board will add input 5, not easily selectable with the provided remote. (you have to use the toggle button on the side of the plasma, get a 503 remote, or use the IR code for input 5 with a programmable remote (pronto)."


    So, my point was not to get sucked in by the "Elite" salesman promising you'll get a better picture with the Elite model (as two have tried to tell me). Apparently, it just isn't so.

    That's all.

    Best of luck Anish.

    Rich.
     
  17. Allan Mack

    Allan Mack Supporting Actor

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  18. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    many better informed opinions have been expressed above, may I just chime in with my 2-cents'?

    this is purely on a "look-see" basis, not a true demo: a local shop had the Pioneer, Panasonic and some other brand (maybe Philips, could be LG, can't remember) "side by side" -- actually on 3 sides of a very large "pillar", all displaying the same input. even a casual look showed it was between the Pioneer and the Panny, the other one (whatever it might have been )wasn't in the running. on closer inspection, the Panasonic wins. contrast is better, detail seemed better, less grain/artefacts. just MHO.
     
  19. Anish

    Anish Stunt Coordinator

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    Yep, I went with the new 50" Panny. [​IMG] I'm waiting on delivery right now. Thanks again guys! [​IMG]
    Now the focus shifts to speakers and a receiver. I'm liking the Anthony Gallo speakers for my apartment (but I don't know where to buy them) and the Denon 5803 receiver to power them.
     
  20. John Geelan

    John Geelan Screenwriter

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    I was wandering around a BestBuy the other day and saw the new 50" Pioneer plasma TV. I was very impressed with the picture. It blew away all the other TV's in the store.
    But the price of $12K is up there.
     

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