Pros Less money than the Panasonic with more features and equal picture quality, Ambilight is awesome!
Cons Speakers leave something to be desired.
Summary I decided to post my opinion only after reading the cnet review listed above. This is more of a rebuttle than a review, so please read the review and other cnet opinions, then read this.
In the cnet review it states that the Philips does not have independent memory per input. I have this set in my living room right now, and it does have independent memory per input. It makes me wonder if cnet even looked at this set and is instead relying on incorrect information.
The menu system, I felt, was very intuitive. It's easy to navigate and adjust settings.
The ambilight feature, while not for everyone (the cnet reviewers) I find it a great addition. I, like most, turn off the lights while viewing a movie. The addition of the ambilight reduces my eye strain and adds a more cinematic experience to the film. But hey, if you don't like it, TURN IT OFF. I'm not about to knock a product because it has TOO MANY features.
I paid $2330 at a national chain store for my set during a promotion. $830 less than the Panasonic PX50U and the Philips has more features and inputs, including PC and 2 HDMI instead of 1. I do not notice any false-countouring artifacts in dark scenes like the cnet review suggests. Greens such as grass on NFL or MLB, look amazing and vibrant, again, unlike the cnet reviews opinion.
With the mention of the Panasonic PX50u so many times in the cnet article, I wonder if they can provide a truly unbiased opinion. After reading the review, I would have to say no. Lines like "Compared to recent plasmas such as the excellent Panasonic TH-42PX50U, which we had on hand for comparison, the philips 42PF9630A's overall image quality leaves something to be desired." I notice NO difference in picture quality between the Philips and the Panasonic. However, I do see a ton of extra features, including the ability to update the sets firmware, ambilight, an added HDMI input, PC inputs, Memory Card Reader, Front AV inputs for a gaming system, etc. Oh, and all at a retail price tag $500 less than the Panasonic.
The only complaint I have is a slight buzzing noise on some high-bass audio segments. However, if your going to spend the money on a plasma TV, why are you using the speakers it comes with instead of a home theater system. I'll have mine hooked up in a couple of weeks.
When it's all said and done, I would recommend this set to anyone over the Panasonic PX50u. I don't work for any company relating to any of these manufacturers. I'm just an owner of a great set that got bashed in a review when it shouldn't have. Lets see if this review even makes it online, or will cnet censor it because it conflicts with their opinion.Updated
Several of us have been discussing this in a forum and have come with this conclusion.
There are 6 settings for your picture, one Personal and 5 presets:
Each input can have any of the above as it's option, however Personal is the only one you can change, and Personal is the same no matter what input you put it on. Hope this info helps!
Pros Excellent connectivity options; Superior HD picture; Excellent DVD picture; Ambilight; Price
Cons Average (for plasma) SD picture; Difficulty with PIP;
Summary I have had this plasma for 2 weeks now, and I am absolutely thrilled with it. The picture quality, particularly on high def sources, is stunning, and the monitor itself is beautiful. I have nothing but wonderful things to say about ambilight. Everytime I show the set to someone new, I demonstrate the performance with and without ambilight. And in each case, with different audiences each time, ambilight was the preferred viewing method. And it's easy enough to turn off if one were so inclined.
I am a bit confused by the editors' review. First and foremost, there is no way this set should rate a 5 out of 10 in picture quality, which in my mind means "average". The picture quality on this set is not only good, it is superior. Whether it is as good as the Panasonic the editors seem so keen to point to throughout this review I can't say. What I can say is this: I watched the first 20 minutes of Alien when I first got the set, and I thought it looked fantastic. These are the same scenes with which the editors found so many problems. I will say from my personal experience, even before reading this review, that there was absolutely no false contouring, and the blacks looked truly black. In fact, after reading this review, I watched the same scenes again to look for the problems they mention. Again, I was floored by the quality, and found no problems. Ditto 2001: A Space Odyssey's black space scenes. Dark gray, the editors say? Not from my seat.
A few other points worth noting. The editors mention how difficult it was to navigate the menus. Here's how it works...Up, down, left right. I picked it up in about 5 minutes, so I'm confused by their aggrevation. Finally, in my neck of the woods, this set is currently $100 cheaper than the Panasonic they mention so often. So their criticism about this plasma being overpriced is completely inaccurate.
I enjoy CNET quite a bit. But this review has me baffled. To each their own, I suppose, but I completely disagree with nearly everything written in this review, and I will look with a more critical eye at their reviews going forward.
Pros Colors, features, connectivity are better than I saw in other sets
Cons Well, nothing that worries me so far
Summary I submit this review because I feel that the cnet editorial review does not represent this set correctly. Of course, the authors can write whatever they feel right (and so can I - as I do it below). But my impression was that first they selected the Panasonic model as the Perfect one. Then, everything what deviates from it they regard as shortcomings.
As anyone out there I compared 42pf9630a to Panasonic and others, and this set is a winner for me. Why would I buy it otherwise? It is a long term investment, the existing price difference is not a serious issue here.
In my opinion the colors of Philips, including and particularly green (I am watching football and soccer a lot) are natural. In comparison, Panasonic's are not - they appear to me cartoonish (sort of you are watching Shrek all the time). This reason was enough for me to reject Panasonic (as well as some other Japanese models) outright.
Another feature of Philips is outstanding connectivity AND the cablecard. So, you don't pay for the cablebox, no need for the HDMI cable for that (and hence no loss of signal), plus you can add a dvd-player with dvi output, even if you use the cablebox.
The editorial review says that dvi and component ins are of the same quality. Maybe, for their player. BUT, and it is a very big BUT - the dvd-players can have very different quality for the component and dvd outs. For example, many have a special scaler (Faroudja) via dvi only. If you have only one dvi/hdmi input and no cablecard, and use your only dvi/hdmi in for the hdtv box, you are screwed. You can through such multithousand display into the garbage!
(Keep in mind that they say that in the future only HTCP-HDMI will carry a tru hd signal - youneed more of these then!)
Also, for a fixed-pixel display like plasma the digital input like hdmi is principally better (for the right sorce) as any analogue as component in, I believe.
Via this output Philips allows any formatting you want, even for not anamorphic dvds at 480p. A nonanamorhic letterbox with 720p and Auto(format) also gives you the right proportions. This means all your dvds become anomorphic and WS!
The menu is very natural to me - you just move cursor to the right up or down, left or right to the desired line and click on it. How it can be not natural? I am lost here? One should be careful when relying on these people's opinion after that?
I did not try to select different setting for my inputs, but I read that other owners can do it. This contradicts to the editorial review. Also, I believe that you can select and modify any of several preset settings and use it for any input (as on other Philips sets).
Software on Philips is easily upgradable, which is unique feature.
But again the picture quality and connectivity make this set a clear winner for me at this time!
Well, I am confused with this situation with Panasonic products - most (if not all) ``hard'' publications (HT, HTchoice. PCWorld and similar) consider it as one of many, sort of average with many principal shortcomings. These publications change their winners all the time. And there are quite a few web only reviews that consider it perfect, sort of the only shining star ... How Panasonic does this to them?
"Outstanding Plasma"on by valen428
Pros Very low cost compared to almost all other plasmas; way more features, great picture quality, love the ambilight!!
Cons Speakers could be better
Summary As someone who has been researching plasma TVs for over 10 months, I couldn't be happier with this model, which I bought almost a week ago. Although the CNet review has some relevant information, there is a lot that they missed. One big mistake is the independent memory per input. This TV absolutely has this, and the menu itself is wonderful! It is so easy to navigate even for someone that isn't very computer savy.
Its interesting that the reviewer mentions the ambilight and states that it could improve image quality if it had a neutral-gray setting. There are in fact many options to the ambilight including a wide spectrum of colors to chose from if you want a neutral color all of the time, although I think the different options such as movie, action, and relaxed add to the experience and in fact improves the quality.
Compared to the Panasonic PX50U, the Philips wins hands down. Not only is the Philips less expensive, it has the most inputs I've seen out there and loads of features.
There is absolutely no false contouring artifacts and the blacks are quite good for a plasma TV. I would recommend this TV to all my friends and family looking to go with Plasma.
"Outstanding Picture quality. This TV has everything you could possibly need/want in a plasma."on by dobeshs
Pros Dual HDMi port/ Multiple video/audio inputs. 7in1 memory reader, Ambilight. Sleek design. Sharp picture. You name it.
Cons No screen saver. Only one digital audio out(coaxial).
Summary I researched a lot of Plasma TVs and this unit met all of my requirements and for a thousand dollars less than its competition.
First of all, this unit has any type of audio/video connection possible. I have my HDTV cox DVR and Toshiba DVD player inputed into the TV via the dual HDMI port and then I run a digital audio out to my receiver. You can directly insert your flash memory sticks or even plug in a USB cable. I plugged in my RIO carbon via the USB and was able to play music. The placements of the connections are in a convenient location as well.
The picture quality is outstanding. All of the images are crystal clear. You can really tell a difference when watching true 1080i HDTV or with upconverted DVD players. The colors are bright and crisp; the blacks are dark. You don't see any greying effect that you usually read about.
The ambilight feature is what sets this TV apart. Its such a unique feature that you are excited about watching TV in the dark. This feature truly improves the viewing experience of HDTV. It may be a gimmick, but its definietly worth it.
The price is great too, especially since these are hard to come by. I originally went to Circuit City to buy one on sale for $2699, but they were sold out. I then went to Best Buy and they price matched Circuit City - no questions asked. They were sold out too, but their wait was shorter. It came out cheaper buying from BB because I joined the rewards club and received a gift certificate and their extended warranty was $200 cheaper. All in all, I thought the price matching at Best Buy was the way to go.
Its hard to find anything wrong with this unit. The only two things I can find at fault is that there is only one digital output and its a coaxial. There is no screen saver option to help prevent burn-in feature.