"Great HDTV for the price... until you add in repair."1.5 starson by erikjo01
Pros: Great picture and contrast levels. A high-end tv for a mid-range price.
Cons: Circuit board defects.
Summary: This will not be the most helpful review. It is merely a warning and an added voice to the growing number of complaints against Panasonic and their indifference to known factory issues people seem to be encountering involving their products.
When I purchased the pz800u less than two years ago, I was in love with the product. I sang its praises to anyone who'd listen. As far as the pros, they are just like what is mentioned in the CNET review. I was very happy with this tv after all the research i had done.
Fast forward to now: 23 months later, and I have encountered the dreaded "10 blinks of death", a code for a faulty board in the tv. Researching this issue I found that I am not alone in this. Many people are experiencing similar problems. And stranger still, this problem seems to effect Panasonic tvs around the two year mark. It's almost conspiratorial in its timing!
I have contacted Panasonic several times, with little help to no help, except for their directing me to a local shop which charges 1/2 the price of the tv to fix this issue.
Shame on me for not buying an extended warranty. Though in all fairness, who would expect such a seemingly high quality tv to experience such an "old tv" problem so soon? And with such frequency?
I must say that I am quite disappointed in Panasonic. I was almost too embarrassed to tell my friends about this issue--those same friends I tried to convince to buy this tv months prior.
Now I am already considering getting a new, non-Panasonic HDTV as the repair price is almost not worth salvaging this 2 year old tv.
With this issue and the known fading black level issue, a Panasonic is no longer on my HDTV research list. Now my Panny loyalty has faded as quickly as their 2009 plasma black levels. And the only Panasonic research I do now is for class action lawsuits against them. A pity as Panasonic produces fine plasmas... when they work.
So my advice is when researching good HDTVs: don't forget to look for the bad (something I neglected to do, being on a HDTV shopping high). Search out known issues and judge for yourself if they are worth the risk of purchase.
Other than that, if you still must buy a Panasonic, consider an extended warranty. Especially if the frequency of a problem is high enough that odds are good you yourself may have to face the same problem as so many other people. A warranty will be cheaper than a trip to the TV repair shop.
Best of luck to all current and future Panasonic owners.