"Great picture & sound"on by MV
Pros Gorgeous picture quality, great sound, rich colors and deep blacks
Cons Not 1080P, some greens appear excessively yellowish
Summary Like many here I researched my first HDTV purchase a good long time. I was focusing on 1080P and LCD for the longest time and was ready to buy the Samsung LN-T4661F when two things stopped me. First of all, I am apparently one of the few people in America that thinks a nearly $2000 television should come with some decent speakers built in. Listening through the stereo is fine for some occasions, but I don't want to force myself and especially not my wife to engage the stereo every time the TV goes on. That to me would be a ridiculous and extremely frustrating limitation. Thanks to some user reviews here I learned that many flat screen TV's have very bad sound, and the LN-T4661F in particular. I thought maybe folks were exaggerating how bad it was so I got a nice guy at Datavision in NY to let me listen for myself. Despite being somewhat prepared I was stunned at how incredibly bad the sound was on that TV. Think 5 inch hand held lcd quality sound amplified. The Panasonic on the other hand has very good sound and is rich and full enough on its own for most viewing situations. Thank goodness I learned in time. CNET reviews were a big help in my decision but they completely drop the ball when it comes to sound, where the only mention of the speakers in a CNET review is how they look.
The second thing that stopped me from getting an LCD was the fact that even though I thought my mind was made up in favor of an LCD, every time I went into the store I kept being surprised at how great one TV or another looked, and that TV always turned out to be a Plasma. The deeper blacks make for a much richer viewing experience (kudos to CNET reviewers for continually pointing this out) and the plasmas look great from any position in the room. No need to have the TV pointing directly at you and no off axis loss of light intensity, shifting colors, rising black level and the like so prevalent with all but the most expensive LCD's, and always there to some degree even with those.
Finally, televised sports are critical to me and one of the main reasons to buy a big screen HDTV, and plasma's have a reputation for better performance with fast moving action. The cable in my area, or any area yet as far as I know, does not yet broadcast in 1080P, and despite being a profession HDTV cameraman myself for Japanese television, the earliest HDTV adaptors, I find it difficult to distinguish the difference in resolution between 1080i, 720p, and 1080P even with a true 1080P source. Since HD-DVD watching won't be a big part of my TV viewing experience and since it's hard to see much difference anyway, the current price premium required for 1080P isn't worth it to me. Lastly, the extremely good antiglare coating of this TV sold me, as this was my primary reason for focusing on LCD's in the first place.
All in all I'm very happy with this purchase.
Pros * Excellent picture out-of-the-box. * Anti-glare screen excellent. * Well engineered stand (though doesn't swivel).
Cons * Remote without "last channel" button.
Summary I researched the liv'in daylights out of this purchase. As I read many reviews, I was curious about the comments related to the greens being a bit off. I must say that the Jets helmets, golf greens and fairways look fine. Perhaps the comments about the greens have more to do with getting the right reds (proper green to blue ratio). I did play around for awhile to get the right red, but now it's great! Red is my litmus test (can't be too blue - can't be too green. Must be perfect).
Same goes for the audio. I had noticed a few reviews that stated that the sound left a little bit to be desired. I have to disagree. Because the speakers are side-mounted, the separation is more distinguishable. I set both the bass & treble on 9 and it sounds good. I'll run an audio out to a B-speaker set up and we'll be good-to-go.
I do wish the stand swiveled. We have a custom cabinet/shelving set-up and it would be better to just swivel the TV for hook ups rather than have to drag the unit and stand across the surface.
This was a very good purchase. The value for price cannot be beaten. I did notice in reading other review that some were happy getting the TV for around $2,000. Make sure to check C-net's, price comparisons. At any given time they are showing prices from 14 - 17 stores and there is no reason to pay $2,000 any more. You can get an out-the-door price of around $1,700-$1,750, shipping included.
By the way, the unit came in excellent condition and was packaged with care in a very high quality container. That may have been a factor related to the re-seller adding some touches, but either way, my TV showed up without even a hint of a "ding".
If you are considering buying this Panasonic, you'll likely not come near a regret for pulling the trigger on this one.
Pros incredible picture, easy to set up, nice remote
Cons none noted so far
Summary I looked obsessively on the internet and in local stores before purchasing this tv. I preferred plasma over LCD because I felt the plasma looked more natural and I noticed issues with even the top of the line LCDs when it came to fast moving images such as basketball games. It came down this or the Pioneer PDP-5070HD. The Pioneer had the advantage of actually being available to look at but I was impressed by the Panasonics I did see so I took a chance. Both are great but the anti-glare coating gives the Panasonic the advantage. My wife was an unwilling participant in all this but after watching a few HD and non-HD programs on the TH-50PX77U, she is a fan.
Pros Anti Glare screen, Sound, great picture and speed for sports and timing for games
Cons Minor false contouring but they all do it (worse)anywhere near this price
Summary Overall a great set. You've got to love the anti-glare screen and great motion performance.
Here's what I've found with the picture settings. The Cnet recommendated settings are great and no service menu adjustments are needed but they're overall a hair soft looking to my eye on my HD cable. I increase picture to 23, set brightness down to 7 and leave the color at the +1 setting. At this brightness, the color setting is probably more accurate at 0 but I enjoy it more at +1 for a little bit of pop. Could be the source or unit variation(doubt it). Nothing's perfect but I'd rather have a hair to much pop than have it a hair soft. I'm extremely happy with this set and I'm a nit picker.Updated
Picture at 22 and brightness at 8 are what I like. I lost my reference before posting. They were already moved one from the review settings and I inadvertantly doubled it up.
Pros Outstanding picture; Lighting fast when switcing inputs/aspect ratios;
Cons Speakers could provide a fuller sound; Another HDMI input would be nice
Summary I'm in a unique position to comment on this set b/c prior to purchasing, I owned the Samsung HPT-5064 Model.
To be fair to the Samsung: it looks beautiful- definitely an attractive set. The Panny looks good, but Samsung has a leg up when it comes to aesthetics. Also, the Sammy has better color saturation and a bit better detail than the Panny (maybe the 15k lines of horizontal resolution contribute). However, I would say that the difference in image quality is marginal; both sets look great.
That said, the Panasonic is a way better set in my opinion. The first major reason for this is build quality. Panasonic has refined their image quality to a tee. There are no annoying display problems that compelled me to return the Samsung.
Most notably, the 5064 had a VERY bad judder problem, where sports tickers (and player movement) on sports broadcasts would consistently stutter. This is a well documented problem (see avs forum.com for details), and Sammy owners are clamoring for a fix. Also, a good number of 5064 owners are experiencing off-colored speckle problems with their image (I didn't experience this).
Let me chime in with a few more Panny advantages. Switching inputs is much more refined and efficient. On the Samsung, you actually need to have the source SENDING the set a signal to even access the input. For example, when playing a movie on my Toshiba HD-A2 (which takes forever to boot up), I could not access the HDMI input until 30+seconds after the DVD player sent a signal to the TV. Why one can't just access the input they want to go to is beyond me. And when a signal exists, the Sammy's ability to quickly cycle between inputs is severely lacking.
Also, if you're a big fan of aspect ratio refinement, the Panny is your set. On the Samsung, if you watch a broadcast which sends a 4:3 signal, and you wanted to "stretch" the image to fit the screen, the "fat head" look is your only option; by contrast, Panasonic has "just" mode which uses concavity to reduce the stretching effect. Also, when stretching the image with the Samsung, the set would crop a decent chunk of the top and bottom of the screen! Put another way, some of what you were seeing in normal mode is lost on the Sammy when you switch aspect ratios.
There are many out there that are singing the 5064's praises, and based on the set's exterior design, and initial picture impressions, I can see why. But there's too many things (aspect ratios, input switching, providing a stutter-free image) that this set does better. In my opinion, Samsung is still a design year or two away from making this competition interesting.