Panasonic Plasma TV new owner comments

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Dick Knisely, Nov 12, 2005.

  1. Dick Knisely

    Dick Knisely Second Unit

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    Thought I'd provide some comments for anyone interested in one of the new trio of Panasonic Plasma TVs. The specific one I bought was the 37" (TH-37PX50U) because that's all that would fit the space but the 42" and 50" sizes seem virtually identical in all the important aspects.

    I won't bother to post the info on it, if you're not familiar with it, take a look here:
    http://www2.panasonic.com/webapp/wcs...00000000005702

    Immediately after setup the TV was calibrated with the Video Essentials DVD. Video is routed directly to the TV and all audio goes to a Denon 2802 AVR. My video sources are:

    -- Digital cable box (SA3250) connected via S-video routed through a standalone TiVo DVR
    -- the TiVo via S-video
    -- Coax (RF) connection for outside antenna
    -- Toshiba DVD player (not progressive scan) via component video
    -- Panasonic VCR via composite video

    Initial Setup
    Setup for the TV was easy and I let it scan the antenna input to find stations. To my surprise there was no trouble at all pulling in a large number of local (DC metro area) stations via the old antenna. The analog broadcasts were good-to-okay as expected but the digital equivalents were beautiful [​IMG] and the HD broadcasts were amazing [​IMG] . In one instance I couldn't get a Baltimore station in analog but the digital broadcast was great.

    Video Comments
    In all cases the colors were deep, blacks were really black and detail extremely good. The HD broadcast of a football game was the best image on a TV I've ever seen. Very, very impressive.

    With analog stations on the cable box and TiVo output the picture is good-to-very good, usually comparable to what I had on the Sony 32" tube it replaced. However the increased resolution on the Panasonic emphasizes the flaws in the picture so sometimes the analog stations and TiVo's compressed output don't looks as good as on the tube.

    Digital stations from the cable box or over-the-air are excellent, much better than any broadcast/cable output I'd seen on the Sony tube. And of course anything in HD is just not in the same ballpark!

    DVD's look superb; even without progressive scan, the increased resolution makes a good DVD look even better. And the widescreen picture vs. the letterbox makes the experience even better!

    My thoughts
    This TV is just as good as the reviews say. I have no hesitation in recommending it at all--for the price I can't imagine how I could have done better. It looks great turned off and turned on its even more impressive across a broad range of video inputs. Setup was easy and the instructions straightforward. I didn't need them much which says something about how well they designed it, but I did read through them to see how good they were.

    After calibration, the TV looks excellent with digital cable channels, and spectacular with DVD or HD inputs. Colors are exceptionally good and light level dynamics are impressive. Blacks really are and yet shadow detail holds up.

    Bottom line is that I have to agree with just about everyone who has reviewed them: Panasonic got this series right. Excellent choice for a widescreen, HD TV.
     
  2. RickER

    RickER Producer

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    After Christmas i am in for the 50 inch. I hear nothing but good things about Panny Plamas.
     
  3. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    There is one problem with them. They have a black level that shifts depending on what else is being displayed on the screen. More like a "dynamic contrast" function. It is much more apparent with how the panel is set up out of the box. After calibration, most people don't notice it so much. (A lot of people don't see it at all, in fact.)

    Here is the test that I've done that has shown the problem on the 37px50, the 42pd50, and the 42px500:

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...&&#post6398078

    Lot's more info in the rest of the thread.
     
  4. Dick Knisely

    Dick Knisely Second Unit

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    Checked it. The effect is there but it doesn't seem dramatic, unless I'm looking for it I don't think I'd be one of the ones that notice it. With the variances in the incoming signal and this effect interacting it gets hard to tell just what is going on when sometimes the contrast/black level seems different from what I saw in calibration. For me at least, the impact isn't large and really doesn't change my assessment of the set.

    One of my standard tests is the opening to the DVD "Speedway", which I took with me to the stores. It's a scene in a barn with bright summer sunlight outside and very dim light inside. Lots of contrast and subtle colors across a huge range. In the store, the Panasonic on "Cinema" looked great, much better than the 2 other TVs I tested. At home after calibration, it it looks terrific, far better than the Sony tube it replaced and that's what counts for me.

    Don't deny the behavior is there but I personally don't see it as much of an issue.
     
  5. Dick Knisely

    Dick Knisely Second Unit

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    If you can possibly do so, get it before Christmas and call it a present to yourself (& the family if that's relevant)! I'm really looking forward to the college football games in HD!

    I debated waiting a little bit because I suspect there will be some holiday specials on these but couldn't force myself to wait any more. On the other hand if sales during the Christmas season are slow, waiting until they hit the post-holiday sales result in a good deal.
     
  6. RickER

    RickER Producer

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    I am so close to just getting the thing Dick. But i cant help but wonder if i would miss out on a good price drop, or no interest financing. I saw a sale at Ultimate Electronics on Plamas. Of course they didn't have any 50 inch Panny's in stock, and didn't know when they would get any. I also worry about the fact that they are in bankruptcy and could be having problems due to that. The price i have seen around town is $3999 and that is a great price for a 50 inch plasma, but i wonder if post Christmas, pre Superbowl will bring a price drop? My fiancee is excited about a widescreen Superbowl! [​IMG]
     
  7. Dick Knisely

    Dick Knisely Second Unit

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    Keep in mind that many places have a 30 day price protection policy so if you bought one in the next 10 days or so you'd be protected from price drops through the Christmas shopping season.
     
  8. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I agree. But it still shouldn't do it. [​IMG]

    The funny part? I came across a really good deal for a Sony 37xs955 a few weekends ago. 37" HD plasma. I did a little research on this one as well. It does the same thing. The panel itself is made by Hitachi not Panasonic.
     

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