Pros Awesome HD display. Great value for 50" plasma. Nice feature set.
Cons Pictures displayed from the SD card reader are too small.
Summary I did all the research - very meticulously. This IS currently the best choice for a 50" plasma on the market.
For me it came down to this TV vs. the Pioneer PDP-5045HD. A year ago I was tasked with buying a plasma for my uncle. Since I had already set up his entire home theater, he naturally came to me when he was ready for Hi-Def. I ended up getting him the Pioneer. He loves it. But in comparing the two - I'd have to say the Panasonic is better. The Pioneer has a more vivid picture, but the color is somewhat over-saturated. In a side-by-side comparison at Circuit-City I was unable to reproduce the exact color content on the Panansonic that was displayed on the Pioneer. However the color of the Panasonic is more accurate with very realistic looking skin tones. The Pioneer picture makes everything appear to have a more "animated" look. Still a great picture - I guess that issue may be a matter of personal preference. I prefer the more subtle yet highly accurate color of the Panasonic. But yes, the Panasonic has a "vivid" setting and you can crank up the color until it almost makes your eyes hurt, although it still won't be as colorful as the Pioneer. I also give a slight edge to the Panasonic in picture detail (sharpness/clarity). Images look almost 3-D and just POP off the screen. It really is jaw-dropping!
But the thing that REALLY seperates this HDTV from the Pioneer is the black levels. I've often noticed that my uncle's TV doesn't "fade to black" it fades to grey! Even scenes that should be pitch-black will only show a dark grey. He doesn't seem to notice (he's 60+) but to me it's a near-fatal flaw. It just doesn't have the contrast ratio to compare with the Panasonic, which will display the deepest blacks as black as they should be. And I love Blacks. It's not really an issue when watching sports. In fact it's probabbly not an issue 80% of the time your watching TV. But that 20% of the time when the black level is really important - particularly when watching a DVD movie with a lot of night scenes, this TV will make all the difference. For me, the rich, deep black levels make the whole TV viewing experience more realistic and engrossing without constantly reminding me that really just watching a subpar reproduction.
And finally the price. The price of the Pioneer has been coming down alot recently. I wonder why??? But Panasonic is still, on average, about $500 cheaper.
The one minor complaint I have with this TV is that the SD card reader displays the pictures too small. When a thumbnail is enlarged it is centered on the screen but it only cover about 1/3 of the area. That makes no sense. There's no way to display the pictures full screen. Well.... I plugged the S-video output from my laptop into the front mounted S-video input of the TV. The pictures actually look much better this way (maybe it's just because they're bigger) and I can display them at almost full screen.
This is a great model. Go with the 50" not the 42" and get true HD resolution. Also, buy it online and save some cash. I got mine at LCDTV.com for $3680 shipped and they can be had for hundreds less now. So jump on it! You won't be sorry. The problem now is that I can't let my uncle see MY plasma TV, he might hate me!
Pros Crystal clear picture, excellent black levels
Cons Barely any, the remote could be a little more functional, a second tuner for the PIP would be nice
Summary I've been researching the upcoming newer plasma/LCD TVs for quite a while now. You will never be able to stay ahead of all upcoming technology because there is always something newer. HOWEVER, this TV is by far the best value-price, absolutely the best picture you can buy, and plenty of features. Panasonic is definitely the leader in the Plasma market and all the worries about lamp-life and burn-in are old concerns. You certainly don't want to leave an image on the screen for days on end, but Panasonic has made great strides in increasing the total life of plasmas and addressing the burn-in issues. Bottom-line, if you are looking for a plasma, for $4000 this 50" beats ANY plasma on the market. My set arrived within 2 weeks of ordering because its a little back-ordered right now, which will only get worse because Pany will sell a ton of these sets.
"Perfect 10"on by weburk
Pros hdmi, vivid picture, layered look
Cons does'nt come in larger model, cannot wall mount
Summary After looking at over 2 dozen plasma's side by side at different Hifi retailers this by far takes the prize. Price, looks and quality are amazing. I own a 50" edtv and after watching a HiDef Football game on my fathers Pioneer Elite pro 50 the hunt was on to pick a HD plasma up. This unit was almost impossible to find. The east coast online retailers do nothing but lie and tell you its in stock, take your order charge your card and never deliver because it was never in stock and now they are back ordered until Thanksgiving. When I did find one it cost me 4500 out the door but its so worth it. The picture on this display is amazing, very colorful, bright, black levels are great causing the picture to really jump out at you. A must for any type of video buff, entry level to pro. Other notable plasma is the pioneer 5060hd, just released. Good luck with your decision.
Pros Great picture, good sound for a plasma, lots of connections, great color, very low glare
Cons Only thing I could think of was that the information display (channel, cc, resolution...) stopped working . This was nothing a little reset didn't fix. Works perfect now.
Summary I have been searching and researching plasmas for a very long time. Sure DLPs came to mind but I don’t like the fact that people will fight for the center couch to get the best view. Even the high-end DLPs lack a very good viewing angle. The TH-50PX500U’s picture quality blew my mind.
Showrooms are the best places to compare. Sure, they tend to have the contras level boost to max but this is something you can get them to adjust. I personally prefer it to be lower than that. Anyway, it's the best place to compare TVs because most of them are displayed side-by-side. You might see a TV (Samsung Plasma) and think. "wow, that's a great picture" if you don't have any base of comparison. But then after looking at this model next to Sony, Samsung, or any other brand you can think of, this was by far the best picture. Other models picture were a bit on the green or red side. I find it best to compare skin tones if the movie has natural lighting and not “MVT style” lighting effects. Also, the other models have the deep black level. Or some did but the white levels suffered because of that. This model had it all. DEEP black and BRIGHT whites. It even makes DVDs look somewhat HD-like. Of course they are not but it makes it look that great.
Do your on research. I'm not trying to sell you this unit. But I am asking you to at least take a look at it and see for yourself. It's a bit pricy ($4,500 Oct. '05) but you can find it online for about $3,700 plus S&H. If this is too much, then the 42 inch might be a good choice for you. It’s about $1,000 cheaper.
GREAT TV. I COULDN'T BE HAPPIER!!!
Pros EASY TO USE, ALL THE TOYS, LOOKS GREAT
Cons COULD USE 2 MORE DIG OUTPUTS OPT/COAX AND INCLUDE THE COMP HOOK UPS
Summary FOR THE PRICE YOU CANT BEAT IT. HAS ENOUGH FEACHERS THAT ENABLE THIS SET TO KEEP UP WITH TECH FOUND ON MORE EXPENSIVE UNITS. DIGITAL PICTURE IS GOOD BUT HD PICTURE IS OUTSTANDING. LOOKS GREAT THE DESIGN IS CLEAN. EASY TO SET UP RIGHT OUT OF THE BOX. SHOP THE INTERNET FOR THE BEST PRICE. MOST STORES WANT $5400 GOT MINE FOR $4200 DEL.
DONT WAIT SURE TO BE ON BACK ORDER