"Amazing TV and the first REAL Kuro competitor/killer"5.0 starson by AVaddicted
Pros: Kuro-esque Blacks! (yes that black) and ridiculous shadow detail
Handles everything I threw at it properly
Internet Apps are much smoother and quicker than others
Oh and of course the 3D is pretty sweet (more on this later)
Cons: Good but not great SD picture quality
Price (this isn't really a con since it is the first 2D TV to come even close to the Kuro, and it might just have done that)
Menu is blah but who really cares
Summary: First off, let me say I have done my research on quite a few TVs and have been on too many trips to too many stores to do comparisons.
I first got a Samsung PN50B860 (Currently third on Katzmaier's Best HDTV list) and while it was good during the day, when you turned that light off, it made me ask why the h*ll did I purchase this thing. The blacks were no better than your average LCD, and definitely not worth the $2k. Needless to say I wasn't happy and even my fiancé thought the blacks weren't black. So I made friends with the guys at Best Buy and they let me wait until I could see the new Panny.
Once they got it in I ran, no sprinted to the store to see it. I must say it blew me away. Firstly, let me say, I had them turn that stupid 3D demo off and made them pop in Master and Commander and some Pixar movies to test out the blacks and color. I was also lucky enough for them to still have some Pioneer Elite Kuro Pro-101FD's in store to compare to. While they were a few TV's apart, I could get a decent comparison. Here are my findings
Blacks - Kuro by a hair, while the VT20 could get blacker (yes I said it) it just didn't show it in the source material, but once again, it did come very close.
Shadow Detail - Honestly - I couldn't tell the difference, maybe the little bit of light that was in the demo room affected this but I really couldnt tell - tie.
Color - Its hard to say because the default settings on the Kuro are probably setup better than the VT20. But even given this I couldnt tell which was better - I thought they were both amazing.
Resolution - Come on - if any TV above $2k can't show all the resolution then it's garbage, this is a pass fail category, and they both obviously passed.
Last but not least - Anti-Reflection systems - the VT20 takes this category - while they both have glossy screens - and both did show reflections with the lights on and did a decent job at diminishing these reflections, the VT20's screen made those reflections dimmer and easier to see the TV's content.
I would still say the Kuro is a better TV, but barely. Throw in the price of the VT20, the internet apps, HDMI 1.4 (for the audio return) and the 3D and you have a hands down winner.
Now for the 3D. All I got to see was the 3D demo disc at BB and a few hours of the Masters at home. I found the demo disc to be pretty cool and it didn't hurt my head or anything. But when I watched the Masters it was hard for my eyes to completely focus and get used to the 3D picture. But all in all it was a pretty cool experience. Here is my theory on new 3D content - live broadcasts will be kinda tough to watch until they can get the recording process down so there is very little crosstalk and the depths are correct. 3D movies will be better but still may cause some headaches. All of this will get better over time due to the natural evolution of technology and all things on this earth.
***Let me say, I did not by this TV because it was the best 3D TV or even because it was a 3D TV. I bought it because it is the best TV that I have seen since the Kuro's and given that it is almost half the price of what the Kuros were/are, I thought it was a no brainer.
***** I personally have seen all of the top TVs on Katzmaier's list all setup with their optimal settings (non-pro) and this TV was by far the best in blacks, shadow detail, realistic color accuracy and anti-glare.
All of those LED-LCD TVs out there that go for way above this TV are a waste of money, while they may get as black as the VT20, most will have blooming effects, lag times for gaming and have horrible off axis viewing. Just because it's sexy and is thin, doesn't mean its a good picture. Also, just because it is the brightest and most colorful doesnt mean it's a win either. Sure if you are going to watch it outside in the blinding sun it is the best. But if your like most people and you watch it during primetime and at night for movies, you will have it calibrated (by you or a professional) where those extreme backlight levels and colors will be knocked down, because at the end of the day you want a TV to look realistic , and you can't beat a Plasma's realism.
I apologize for the extremely long review/rant, I put a lot of time and research into this purchase and I hope that someone else will find this all useful and will help them find their TV.
P.S. - The G20 is not one step down from the VT20/VT25, the black levels are garbage and antiglare is a joke. go with some other manufacture if you are looking for something in that size/price range.