Pros Accuracy of picture and color; adjustable zoom; warranty is valid even for purchases from non-authorized dealers; all-glass panel with metal trim reminds me of McIntosh brand
Cons Blacks are deeper on the Pioneer Kuros
1) I've seen both the Pioneer Kuro and this TV near each other at Bestbuy and the picture quality and color accuracy looked better on this tv over the Pioneer.
2) The warranty is valid whether I purchased the tv from an authorized dealer or not. So I didn't have to get a square trade warranty because of concerns that I got a lemon. Pioneer does not offer a warranty for products bought from unauthorized dealers.
3) I really like the glass screen with metal frame. It matches McIntosh brand audio products and looks high quality.
4) I upgraded from a Panasonic 600u and what I like about the 800u is that the there is adjustable zoom so when I watch a movie that is in wide screen, I can zoom to get rid of the bars on the top and bottom of the screen exactly. Nice!
5) THX mode - those particular people at THX really hit a home run with the color accuracy... I just leave it on this mode and see what the movie makers wanted me to see!
Black levels are better on the Pioneer Kuros.
Check out www.live.com which gives a $250 rebate when you do a search for a product and then click-through to ebay to make the purchase... I was able to get the 800u for $2000 (including shipping after the rebate) from a powerseller with 100% feedback and thousands of previous sales. Since Panasonic honors the warranty I'm safe even if he's not an authorized dealer.Updated
I forgot to mention that I rated this tv a 9, and the Pioneer Kuro a 8, and reserved the 10 for a tv that has the black levels of the Pioneer and with the color and picture accuracy of the 800u, which apparantly does not exist yet in the state-of-the-art of flat panel tvs.
Pros Great Picture & Sound, Fast Motion, Lots of inputs
Cons As hard as they try, its just not as bright as an LCD
Summary Maybe its just me but LCDs (and some plasmas) give me motion-sickness. As it stands right now, flat-screen's response time aren't nearly as good as a classic tube.
I checked out the 120hz LCD models from Sony and Samsumg, and while they are better, I still get nauseous.
But Panasonic's Plasma is quick enough to allow me to focus on the great picture, rather than my stomach.
But there is a big trade-off. Plasma's aren't nearly as bright as LCD's making daytime watching difficult.
My only other complaint is the lack of 1080p option from component cables... xbox 360 owners will require a vga or hdmi kit.
But between the great fast picture, surprisingly good sound, lots of HDML inputs, good 480p DVD picture, and great price compared to the Pioneers... its an easy decision!
Great job Panasonic!
Pros Superb video, blackest black, no motion problems, stylish rich-looking bezel, non-reflective glass,excellent THX certification for picture perfect set-up.
Who wants piano black high gloss for a TV? Get a Heintzman for that!
Cons It's heavy, wall mounting requires two strong people. In addition the rear mounting bolts are metric & longer than most other TV's.
A little thick in the waist, (who isn't) & the TV's sound is just okay. Get a 7.1 surround Home theatre system!
Summary We had Hitachi & Sony large screens & they were very good, until we saw the 800U. The set-up is easy (after mounting & hiding the cables in the wall), utilizing the preferred adjustments from CNET was paramount & effective.
We were astounded by the clarity, the blacks, the pure colour, and realistic picture that is beyond anything we have seen so far.
We really appreciated the THX certification assuring us a great picture with little effort. The addition of an HDMI on the front is so handy when we use our High definition camcorder to see our grandchildren in life-like clarity.
We are also Sports fans, especially Hockey & Football and there have been no triple footballs or pucks flashing across the screen like some LCD's. 120Hz for what?
The colour of grass is a real test for LCD's too and this Panasonic produces real grass that you want to go out and cut. Jaggies or edgies are also a thing of the past even in Standard definition as well as any sign of 'jerkiness'
We cannot wait for a good Blu-ray player or PS3 for our 1080P theatre, for now though the High definition signals from our satellite will suffice.
Bring on the Fall sales such that we can add Blu-ray soon! What are you waiting for, this is a superb HDTV 1080P set at a great price!
Pros Deep black levels, vibrant colors, easy setup, attractive frame
Cons She sure ain't cheap
Summary This television is gorgeous. The deep black levels it can attain help accentuate the eye-popping colors, giving some of the best chiaroscuro effects I have ever seen in an HDTV. Backlit characters are often limned in a lambent glow. Colors ripple and flow so smoothly that it is easy to imagine that you are not looking at a solid screen but peering into a fluid scrying pool. I know it sounds like an abuse of rhetoric to describe a television in such glowing terms, but you really have to see this picture. It's breathtaking.
Setup was a breeze. The menus are intuitive and well-organized. The THX mode eliminates much of the hassle of tweaking settings. As indicated in the CNET review, this mode comes so close to reference standard that little further calibration was necessary. One has to wonder about the "out-of-the-box" settings CNET sees in units that the distributor knows are being sent to a reviewer (indeed, CNET itself has expressed some doubt in this vein), but my plebeian experience comported with their loftier one: a few tweaks here and there sufficed.
In line with the stunning picture, the chassis is a smart black frame that manages somehow to be both Spartan and stylish. It would be nice if other manufacturers would take note of the frames found in this crop of Panasonic and Pioneer plasma screens, where the greatest amount of real estate is dedicated to the screen without sacrificing beauty and elegance. We actually returned the 46-inch Sony XBR4 we had purchased two days earlier, in no small part because the stylistic garbage with which Sony rings their televisions meant that the 4-inch larger Panasonic only takes up 0.2 more inches of horizontal wall space. (The other reasons: the Panny had better PQ and cost a mere $30 more than the Sony.)
In trying to decide whether to give this a 9 or a 10, I listed the downsides. Two came to mind: price and settings.
This television is not cheap, true, but it is not the most expensive television at its size. When one compares picture quality between this and the more expensive televisions, the price point of the Panasonic begins to appear much more attractive. Price cannot be examined in a vacuum; one must determine what value is provided for that price. On that basis, price is no longer a downside.
The other potential downside is settings. Though I am one who generally wants control over the most minute of details, the THX mode obviates my need to be a tweak freak. After I engaged that mode, there was not a single setting that I wanted to tweak that I was not able to tweak. Caviling about the absence of settings that I would not use if I had them just does not seem fair. Though I would still prefer such settings were available, I cannot rightly downgrade the television for not having them.
In short, though this television is not strictly "perfect" it is close enough that I have to round up slightly and give it a 10.
Pros The HD format blows my mind. Some of the HD movies I've watched are like a low light Rembrandt painting which is constantly evolving .
I found the set up and operation pretty easy.
Cons I know this beef has nothing to do with the performance of the TV but with the feeds, but I do so hate having to stretch images from my digital dish that are still in the old format.
I had to update my older format peripherals. Which cost more $$$.
Summary My 205lb 36" Sony Trinitron died last year. Since then I have been suffering through my movie addiction with a 27" JVC boob tube. I have been researching plasmas forever.30 Oct 2008... The blue ray movies look spectacular. You can actually sit 12" from the screen and still see details without pixelation. I recently went to the cinema and I was disappointed. My plasma has spoiled me. With my new surround sound my system blows away the cinema. Don't have to worry about driving, parking, noisey kids. I love my plasma!
This TV has blown my mind. I have been enjoying it for only two weeks. I did feel the need to replace my older peripherals to match this TVs performance. Hence an unexpected expense I hadn't intially planned on.
I'm by no means a Techno Geek ,but I found the hook ups and sets up on this TV pretty easy. I used CNETs calibration data to tune the TV. Two of my advanced picture settings differed from CNETs. The MPEG NR is active and the HD size is greyed out. The picture still looks superb.
I can't get over the HD programing on satellite receiver. I started gewtting back into sports as it is now so much more enjoyable. You can see the sweat on their face, the bugs flying around the batters, the dust from the catchers mitt. Unbelievable.
On my old TV I could hardly see the images from the newer TV programs because many of them are filmed in darkened lighting. But this baby catches it all.
To be honest I have yet to watch a blu-ray movie through my new components. But I've been so blown away from the HD satellite movies which are 1080i on TV that I know blue-ray will be smoking.
Initially I llked at the Pioneer Elite models but I could not justify the expense especially when I knew I need to update the rest of my system.
With the instore extended warranty of 4 more years it was win win for this make & model.
I had thought of the 850 but it lacks THX and has a bunch of little extras that were not of an interest to an old dog like me.
The sound from this TV is superb. If you like saving the surround for your DVD/blu-ray movies, you'll enjoy the 800Us HD digital sound.
& Great Service..When I got my TV home I noticed a scratch on the screen which did not affect the picture. I contacted the Panasonic concierge warranty program and they agreed to replace the screen without question.
My TV is placed on top of a credenza in front of a very large picture window. The glare from the sun does not affect the picture. It does have a lazy-susan pedestal which could easily turn the angle of the screen away from the sun rays.
I am very pleased with this purchase. All my pals want to come over to watch the next pay per view UFV fight in HD. The wife enjoys her Soaps as well!
Updated on Oct 30, 2008