"Very disappointing for viewing sports"2.5 starson by mgfattey
Pros: Excellent still image picture, THX Mode looks great, good list of features
Cons: Very poor motion-handling capability, Standard Mode is not very good, terrible standard def. picture
Summary: Ok, so like most of you, I spent a good deal of time doing research for my TV purchase. Ultimately, it came down to two TV's: the Panasonic TC-PVT20 and the Samsung PN50C7000. After much debate and based on everything I had read and seen in-store, I initially decided to go with the Panasonic TC-PVT20 from Best Buy. The TV looked beautiful in-store, got great recommendations from both CNET and Consumer Reports, and seemed like an all-around no-brainer to buy.
However, once I got it home and hooked up to my DIRECTV box, I was pretty surprised at how disappointed I was. I was SHOCKED at how poor the motion-handling capability was on the Panasonic. As I jumped between MLB HD, NHL HD, NFL Network HD, NBA HD, and ESPN HD, I couldn't believe how much trouble I was having viewing the various sporting events. Anytime there was a panning motion from side-to-side (and let's face it, that's pretty much all that happens during a game) it seemed like someone was shaking the camera. It was very jarring and really difficult to ignore. In fact, it was even difficult to watch normal TV shows when an image moved horizontally across the screen, let alone sporting events.
In addition, the picture in STANDARD mode was nothing special (not even as good as my parents' Panasonic G10 from last year), though switching to THX mode did result in a significant improvement. And, to be fair, still images looked excellent on the Panasonic.
However, it was impossible to ignore the motion blurring issue, so I returned the Panasonic and got the Samsung PN50C7000 - and I couldn't be happier. Once you perform either the firmware update or the "switch to Game Mode and back" maneuver, any hint of a video processing issue (a.k.a. "soap opera affect") is gone. The Samsung correctly handles panning motion while viewing sporting events and, quite honestly, has delivered the best Blu-Ray movie picture I've ever seen (a few friends stopped by to watch Iron Man 2 and commented that they couldn't believe how crisp the picture looked).
Finally, and this is a small issue, the standard definition picture quality is honestly the worst I think I've ever seen on any TV. Of course, most people don't watch much in SD anymore (especially those that are looking to purchase this TV), but sometimes you can't avoid it. For example, during an ESPN highlight reel, some of the highlights were presented in HD, while others were only available in SD. So as the highlights were played, it was extremely jarring when things switched back and forth. Again, this is a minor issue and you're not going to purchase or not purchase this TV based on its ability to display SD content, but I do feel it's worth noting.
All-in-all, I'm much happier with the Samsung PN50C7000. Great picture, excellent for viewing sports, better list of features, and beautiful styling. The Panasonic is still a very good TV, but it didn't deliever the viewing experience I believed I was going to receive. You may want to consider your viewing purposes before investing in it - if you like watching sports, I'd definitely recommend the Samsung PN50C7000 (PN50C8000, for that matter).