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Gear / Technical Help => Playback Forum => Home Theatre & HDTV => Topic started by: Brian Skalinder on December 12, 2008, 10:14:34 AM

Title: 50" plasma TV considerations
Post by: Brian Skalinder on December 12, 2008, 10:14:34 AM
Yesterday I cashed in my large mixed change jar (~3 gallons worth), and it was worth more than I expected:  $1,150.  Woohoo!  I've always intended to buy a new toy for myself with the change, so...I'm looking at replacing my 37" LCD TV (720p) with a 50" plasma.

I'm generally happy with my 37" LCD, but the contrast isn't great, and I'd like to upsize the screen.  For the moment, I'm focusing on 50" 720p sets because <a> the size/resolution/transition to plasma (and in large part better contrast) fits my budget and gives me a significant upgrade from my current set, and <b> at my viewing distance of ~10' (which won't change any time soon) - according to this chart (http://s3.carltonbale.com/resolution_chart.html) - I'll achieve the full benefits of 720p, but barely, if at all, receive any benefits from 1080p.  Of course, it doesn't hurt that 720p prices have dropped this year.  The specific models I'm considering at the moment:

Samsung PN50A450 (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=cart_accessories&A=details&Q=&sku=544338&is=REG), $960 shipped
Panasonic TH-50PX80U VIERA (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/543203-REG/Panasonic_TH_50PX80U_TH_50PX80U_VIERA_Plasma_TV.html), $940 shipped

Yes, yes...I know I could spend another $400 or so and get the 1080p versions of both of the above sets, but my budget simply won't support it, and if the chart above is correct I wouldn't notice the difference, anyway.  On a side note, I'm a bit surprised B&H had the best prices from the usual online retailers I frequent (B&H, NewEgg, TigerDirect).  Go figure.

Any recommendations as to which set of the two above, or alternatives in my price range in 50" plasmas, other online shops, etc.?
Title: Re: 50" plasma TV considerations
Post by: Rusty M on December 12, 2008, 12:10:58 PM
panasonic.  blacker blacks and just a little more crisp.  motion was comparable.  I was just comparing the 42" versions of these exact models last night.  but the samsung is nice too.

I think John Kelly said that Pioneer is now buying the panels for some of their models from Panasonic. 
Title: Re: 50" plasma TV considerations
Post by: Gutbucket on December 12, 2008, 12:42:26 PM
Seems there weren't just pennies and nickles in there. 

Though not in the market until I get the rest of the house back together, the research I've done also sways me towards Panasonic.  When I do, my arrangement and needs are similar, so let us know what you end up with and how it works out.  I plan on fabricating a large, hinged wall mount that will allow the screen to swing out about 30 degrees for proper viewing in the room, then fold flat to the wall when not in use.
Title: Re: 50" plasma TV considerations
Post by: Teen Wolf Blitzer on December 12, 2008, 12:47:12 PM
We're in the market as well.  But I've been told by many folks to avoid a plasma.  The picture is better but the lifetime of the tv is way shorter vs. an lcd and they fade.  Is this true?
Title: Re: 50" plasma TV considerations
Post by: OFOTD on December 12, 2008, 01:14:22 PM
We're in the market as well.  But I've been told by many folks to avoid a plasma.  The picture is better but the lifetime of the tv is way shorter vs. an lcd and they fade.  Is this true?

Not anymore.   Plasmas have really taken a big jump in design and build quality the last 12-24 months.  Alot of the prior shortcomings of plasmas have been fixed like burn-in, altitude, life span, fade, etc.

Between the two listed in the original post my vote is for the Samsung.   My parents just bought the 58" version on the Panny and while nice I don't think it views nearly as well as the Samsung.  The Samsung definitely has more consistent blacks.   The Panny seems to devolve into the moss green blacks alot especially when fed a 480 signal which is most of what you're watching anyways. 

The other clincher is the ability to fine tune the sets via there menu system.    The Samsung to me has better fine control of picture options.  The Panny is still a real nice set and you won't go wrong with either I just feel the intangibles of the Samsung make it a clear winner.
Title: Re: 50" plasma TV considerations
Post by: fozzy on December 12, 2008, 01:15:23 PM
I don't think you can go wrong with either of those plasmas.   have the 37" panny and a friend has the 42"  I am sure the 50" is very similar guts w/ a bigger screen.  The scaler is one of the better ones i have seen, we watch a lot of 480i content.  

Mark: I think those are myths and/or issues for early adopters.
Title: Re: 50" plasma TV considerations
Post by: momule on December 12, 2008, 01:33:55 PM
Personally I would keep saving your change until you can afford a 1080p version.  IMO buying a 720p box is like buying a Ferrari with a 4 cylinder. The outside looks pretty but that's about it.  You might consider stepping down to a 46"    

I would suggest the Panasonic TH46PZ80 which is onsale at sears for $1299
Or the Samsung LN46A630 which is on sale at bestbuy for $1399.
Title: Re: 50" plasma TV considerations
Post by: Teen Wolf Blitzer on December 12, 2008, 01:42:04 PM
thx for the info guys.   :coolguy:
Title: Re: 50" plasma TV considerations
Post by: John Kelly on December 12, 2008, 01:55:38 PM
Personally I would keep saving your change until you can afford a 1080p version.  IMO buying a 720p box is like buying a Ferrari with a 4 cylinder. The outside looks pretty but that's about it.  You might consider stepping down to a 46"    

I would suggest the Panasonic TH46PZ80 which is onsale at sears for $1299
Or the Samsung LN46A630 which is on sale at bestbuy for $1399.

Unless, of course, he really is going to sit 10 feet away and then 1080p would just be throwing his money away...

Brian - definitely go with the Panasonic.  Their TVs are consistently among the best you can buy for the money.  I've got a 42", have a friend with an older 37", and my father has a 50" 720p very similar to the one you're looking at.  Fantastic TVs all around.

And although Samsung's are pretty great - I'd stick with their LCDs and not their plasmas.
Title: Re: 50" plasma TV considerations
Post by: sparkey on December 12, 2008, 01:58:29 PM
I'd take a gander at Craigslist and see what people are selling.  Have you thought about a projector?  My Sony HW15 looks amazing.

Josh
Title: Re: 50" plasma TV considerations
Post by: ellaguru on December 12, 2008, 02:02:37 PM
just got a 42" panni plasma....TH42PZ85U....im not even a big TV guy but WOW is it great....paired with my oppo 981 (also delivered yesterday) i was in pure bliss....panni claims 100,00 hrs....thats 30 years @ 8hrs a day....

chris
Title: Re: 50" plasma TV considerations
Post by: John Kelly on December 12, 2008, 02:31:49 PM
And that 100,000 hours is until the TV gets to half-brightness.  These things last a crazy long time.
Title: Re: 50" plasma TV considerations
Post by: Brian Skalinder on December 12, 2008, 04:25:49 PM
Hmmmm...an initial vote each for the Panny and Sammy, but then quite a few Panny recommendations.  Thanks for the tips on the Sammy fine tuning, OFOTD -- I generally like to tweak, so I'll have to dig a little deeper on that one.  I've been very happy with my (granted, smallish) Sammy LCD I have in my home office, but know nothing about their plasmas.

Good idea to check out CL -- hadn't even thought about it.  A quick gander doesn't show anything interesting or particularly well priced, but I'll keep my eye out for sure.

Saving up for 1080p is off the table.  Too many other priorities.  And assuming the distance/resolution chart is accurate, buying 1080p would be like buying the big engine for the Ferrari to drive around on crowded, potholed city streets between 0 - 25 mph, i.e. not worth the extra cash.  Though the more I read, the more I'm seeing suggestions that the benefits of 1080p aren't just about resolution.  At any rate, my budget and unwillingness to re-prioritize future saving basically keeps me out of the 1080p anyway, so in that sense it's an easy decision.

Thanks for the comments, everyone!  Going to have to ponder a bit more...
Title: Re: 50" plasma TV considerations
Post by: drewloo on December 12, 2008, 04:27:35 PM
I'll throw another vote for the Panny plasma.  Bought a 42" 1080p at Costco a few months ago and am very pleased.  FarCry2 looks smoking on it (hooked up to the pc).
Title: Re: 50" plasma TV considerations
Post by: Brian Skalinder on December 12, 2008, 06:45:09 PM
Forgot to add I haven't really considered projectors, since at first glance projectors in my price range either don't offer high enough contrast or aren't bright enough (it's a quite bright room).  Not to mention I don't seem to have a sufficient budget for projector + screen + ceiling mount + (maybe) new window treatments.
Title: Re: 50" plasma TV considerations
Post by: John Kelly on December 12, 2008, 07:26:31 PM
Forgot to add I haven't really considered projectors, since at first glance projectors in my price range either don't offer high enough contrast or aren't bright enough (it's a quite bright room).  Not to mention I don't seem to have a sufficient budget for projector + screen + ceiling mount + (maybe) new window treatments.

My next home theater purchase will be a projector.  100" screen?  Awesome. ;D
Title: Re: 50" plasma TV considerations
Post by: neumannkid on December 12, 2008, 08:01:03 PM
I have the 50" Panasonic and couldnt be more satisfied. A lot of the past problems with plasmas have been fixed or improved with the newer versions.
Title: Re: 50" plasma TV considerations
Post by: Gutbucket on December 13, 2008, 12:30:10 AM
Heh.
A friend of mine and I DIY'd an old LCD monitor screen and ex-highschool AV department overhead projector to project onto the exterior garage wall.  The contrast sucks and the thing is covered in bits of cardboard boxes to block the light leaks but it makes for a fun yard party.  I've considered building a 'good' one with a quality lens and high wattage halide light.. but that's a good ways down the project list.
Title: Re: 50" plasma TV considerations
Post by: sparkey on December 15, 2008, 10:28:22 AM
I got my Sony HW15 for $1050 shipped to my door and made the screen by stretching blackout material from Joann Fabric over a frame to 100" (87"x49.5").  My buddy who has a 50" Mitsubishi flipped when he saw it, told me it looked better than his TV.  You just gotta be able to control your light...looks fuckin sick at 720P...I'm tellin ya....

Josh


Forgot to add I haven't really considered projectors, since at first glance projectors in my price range either don't offer high enough contrast or aren't bright enough (it's a quite bright room).  Not to mention I don't seem to have a sufficient budget for projector + screen + ceiling mount + (maybe) new window treatments.

My next home theater purchase will be a projector.  100" screen?  Awesome. ;D
Title: Re: 50" plasma TV considerations
Post by: pjdavep on December 16, 2008, 02:04:41 PM

Brian,

I'd urge you to call Invision Displays before you purchase.  Last year I ordered my Pioneer plasma from them and they had the lowest price by far, coupled with no tax and very fair shipping/freight prices.  The price was so good that I sprung for an additional 4 year extended warranty.
http://www.invisiondisplays.com/index.php

They carry Pioneer, Panasonic, and Samsung.  You may be able to afford a Pioneer and if so, that would be my vote.  Next best is Panasonic IMO.  Although Pioneer will start buying panels from Panasonic, their electronics behind the panel are superior.   

Later,
  pjdavep
 
Title: Re: 50" plasma TV considerations
Post by: Brian Emerick on September 23, 2009, 10:05:05 AM
What'd you end up with?  I bought a 50" Pioneer in spring 08. It's just tops. Literally, best you could buy, probably still is. But you'll have trouble finding them now. Pio has dropped out of the plasma business.
Title: Re: 50" plasma TV considerations
Post by: Brian Skalinder on September 23, 2009, 03:09:28 PM
What'd you end up with?

I had a major kitchen plumbing crisis, added a few extras while we were at it, and ended up with:  all new kitchen plumbing, faucet, sink, disposal, and granite countertops.  Not all for $1k, of course...but that's where the $ went.  Thrilled with the new kitchen space, but still wish I had a 50"-er, especially now that my 37" LCD just died.  Hmph.