"Great Picture but slightly disappointing feature set."4.0 starson by correa3382
Pros: Picture is Outstanding
Anti Reflective screen is admirable
Viera Cast is nice, now that Amazon OnDemand is Available
High Contrast Ratio for Deep Blacks and Bright Whites
Very hard/Near Impossible to Burn-In
Cons: No 1080p over Component
SD scaling to 1080p is mediocre
THX mode is a little too dark, unable to raise contrast.
Summary: My review, or blog, is about a Panasonic G10 Plasma but it starts with a Vizio. I purchased my 50 inch Vizio VP505XVT after reading a lot of outstanding reviews from every respectable HDTV critic (CNET, HDGuru, PCMag, UltimateAVMag.com). One of my favorite review quotes comes from CNet, ?Simply put, the Vizio VP505XVT is one of the better-performing plasma TVs we've tested this year from any manufacturer?. That said it all, I was sold, and I?m getting a 505XVT. The set retailed for $1599.99 at the time but Costco was selling it for $1199.99. I ran over to my local Costco at Pentagon City in Arlington VA and purchased it. For the next 85 days I loved the set. My one complaint was the Image Retention(IR), I followed the 100 hour break-in rule but found that even after the 100 hours, I still had constant IR. Nothing permanent, the IR would typically fade after 20 minutes to an hour of full screen programming. But it was a chore, constantly having to combat the IR and always trying to prevent it. I wanted a plasma though, LCD shortcoming were not acceptable to me.I forgot to mention the G10 has a better anti-reflective glass Panel than the VP505XVT, and also a nicer stand. No Picture in Picture which the Vizio did have.
I decided to replace my Visio with a brand new 2009 G10, I figured I would lose nothing. Costco has a no questions asked 90 day return policy, so I exercised it. Vizio?s Flagship, top-of-the-line plasma should be equal to Panny?s middle-of-the-road plasma, right? And for the most part they are similar. Black levels, to my eye, are no different, both produce incredibly inky blacks but small things existed on the Visio that didn?t on the Panny. What might those be you ask? 1080p-over-component. To my dismay, I plugged up my X-Box 360 to my new G10 and no picture. After fumbling around with the component cables, I learned of the G10?s shortcoming. I remembered setting my X-Box to 1080p as a test on the Vizio and it worked to my surprise. I assumed 1080p-over-component was only a feature on the most high end HDTV so I was quite happy to find it available on my Vizio Plasma for $1199.99. I purchased the G10 for $1499.99 but at the time its MSRP was $1999.99. Surely a TV as expensive at that would include a feature found on a cheaper, budget brand television. Nope, I learned that Vizio and Samsung include 1080p-over-component on all there 1080p sets now. I guess I am just stuck with 1080i for my X-Box.
My other gripe with the Panasonic G10 is it?s ability to scale an interlaced image to the native progressive display. For most channels I receive over my DirecTV satellite service it works okay, but a few channels, namely Discovery HD Theater, the very top of the screen is not filled with the picture. Kind of like a 2cm letterbox, but it doesn?t exist on the bottom of the picture, only the top. I know for a fact the Vizio didn?t do this. I used Discovery HD Theater for my plasma breaking period, because of the channels lack of a permanent channel logo and the 100% full screen HD programming. To combat this issue I used the overscan picture setting while breaking in my G10 but this was a nuisance to me. Why doesn?t it scale correctly, and why does TNTHD scale perfectly. I know the Vizio VP505XVT has a higher end video processor than the Panny. The benefit is: better scaling and de-interlacing of all non-1080p content. The SD picture quality of the 505XVT was noticeably better than on the G10.
My last complaint for the G10 is the menu and remote. There is no quick way to change picture presets. I use a brighter picture present (Custom) for daytime viewing and sporting events and THX mode for nighttime viewing and movies. This switch requires me to go multiple clicks into the menu, while the Visio had a dedicated button. Also no Universal Remote for the Panny, it only controls the TV (unless you have special Panasonic brand accessories and use VieraLink). This is easily looked past if you have a Logitech Harmony Remote, which it do, but the omission puzzles me.
Now this is not a blog to trump the Panasonic G10. I do enjoy the HD picture. I have DirecTV so I watch 95% HD content. The G10 design so pretty. I love the Television but if I can do it again, I wouldn?t have traded returned my Vizio. To me, the 505XVT performs equal to the high standards set by the G10, and even surpasses it in features (HQV video processing, 1080p-over-component, SRS Surround Sound w/ DTS decoding, Better menu and immensely more robust picture control). The only thing I find the Panasonic offers that the Visio doesn?t is: Better Anti-Image Retention and VieraCast Internet Services. Sure THX mode is there but it isn?t all that it is cracked up to be. The casual TV watcher would probably prefer a non-THX preset due to the Dim contrast presented in THX mode. Most people would be 100% happy with the beautiful Panasonic G10, as I mostly am, but believe it is a slight downgrade from the Vizio VP505XVT. Now if I never purchased the Vizio first, I would give the G10 five stars. It just sucks when you pay more money and lose features.
Updated on May 10, 2009