1. Runco (by a wide margin)
2. Pioneer elite
3. everything else
2. Pioneer elite
3. everything else
I like the first two responses!
However, I'd like to add one caviat, and that's that picture quality in regards to regular interlaced 230 line resolved satatlite feeds will depend on how your Plasma deals with the signal. When you're dealing with a signal that's changed from interlaced to progressive on these HD ready TV's, you often soften the picture for regular rez material, and add some artifacts! There's really no problem here with HD material or higher rez DVD 480 line stuff.
I've noticed this many many times, where the picture people expect on their expensive plasma isn't what they think(*or on their HD bigscreen for that matter) for regular program material.
I'd suggest getting a plasma that allows you to turn off the deinterlacing progressive scaler, and just play through interlaced from the signal. I think this offers a better picture mostly for lower rez junk.
Anyone have feed back here?
If money is no object definetly Runco and please buy the 50" it's so much nicer to view than the 42".
As for myself money was a consideration after reading a bunch of reviews blah blah blah I went with the Panasonic. I've been very happy for around two years now.
If you buy the commercial version you'll get a better deal though they will warn you about all this RF that's going to screw with your system.
It was a real treat when I added my Carmen-II DVD player into the system. Progressive scan/DVI output took me to a whole new level.
i spent about 6 months looking at the various choices of 42" and 50" plasmas. did all the reasearch.....lurked at the avs forum.
i bought the Fujitsu P50XHA30WS 50" and am totally satisfied. the 42" version had the same advantages over the competition. every time i compared the Fujitsu side by side with the Pioneer, Panasonic or Sony (or even the Runco) i couldn't understand how anyone would not choose the Fujitsu.
i have it mounted on a Chief articulating arm.....excellent.
and......Fujitsu just announced rebates on all their Plasmas.....here is a link;
General perception is the Panny is the best bang for the buck, the Fujitsu is slightly better (still uses Panny glass btw) and costs significantly more.
Buy a Panny and buy an HD-DVDO and you will outperform the Fuji i think.
btw, the Runco is a Pioneer and in no way looks better than these two. Turn down the lights if you really want to see what is going on....
However, to each his own...
I have a Panny 42 inch plasma and consider it tops for DVDs. in dimly lit environs. However, I also agree that the Fujitsu has noticebly better PQ when viewing HD sources, particularly at the 42 inch size. For me, the money wasnt worth the difference however.
If you do go with a Panny, I recommend waiting for the 7 series to come out, which should occur within the next 2 months or so.
Pioneers are decent, especially if buy the PDP-4330 (for a 43" plasma - it is a commercial model). This is because they have a card slot that you can add connections with. A few others have this, but Pioneer is great about that. The blacks could be a little blacker, but otherwise it has a phenominal picture.
The Fujitsu's are actually a Hitachi/Fujitsu glass - they make there own. I don't like the 1024 x 1024 resolution shtick because it is not exactly right - it should be 1024 x1024I (it draws 512 lines of resolution every other time). In actions shots, the picture can bleed.
I spent about 6-9 months researching plasma's before we bought one. We looked at a Runco, but it was so loud (because of all the fans in it) and they use NEC glass and chasis and modify them. I am not sure they are really worth the money.
We bought a Pioneer PDP-4330 and will never look back.
FWIW, here in Japan, the Fujitsus don't sell very well now because they are not price competitive and the picture does not seem noticably better for HD use. NEC just sold its PDP mfg. business to Pioneer so anything which comes out will not be NEC original. The two main contenders in Japan at the 42-50" sizes are the Panasonic and the Pioneer. Every time I have compared the two (and I have been comparing them for 3 generations now, waiting, waiting, waiting for the price to drop), the Pioneer always comes out on top for color but the Panasonic may have the edge in blacks in a light room. The new Pioneer runs quite a bit cooler than the Panasonic does (and uses less electricity) and is about 33-40% lighter (42" or 50" version, respectively).
Personally, I much prefer the colors of the newest Pioneer (505HDL) vs the newest Panasonic (50PX300). Both "new" versions noted above are only about a half-generation technological bump from the last model (they were brought out for pre-olympics sales campaigns). I would not expect a 'real' new generation screen for at least another 6mos (in Japan, perhaps longer for the U.S.).
Botrytis wrote: "The Fujitsu's are actually a Hitachi/Fujitsu glass - they make there own. I don'tlike the 1024 x 1024 resolution shtick because it is not exactly right - it should be 1024 x1024I (it draws 512 lines of resolution every other time)."
This is not entirely true. Some of the Fujitsu's use that ALIS technology glass but others, like the 1366x768 P50 I have and the P63, use Panasonic glass, thus combining its excellent black rendition and high contrast with their AVM processing.
I will concede to Kal that I am speculating on HD-DVDO/Panny performance vs. the Fujitsu.
Yes, you have another box, albeit only 1 cable to the panel, so I think it depends on the installation which way is easiest.
I have debated getting an HD-DVDO to try out...but audio has my focus right now :) I don't think the scaling is bad on the Panny for what its worth--certainly better than my former JVC SX21 projector. I watch mostly HD, so that has been my hiccup on scalars. Only the better Faroudjas/Runcos/KDs etc right now scale HD. My eye is definitely on the new Lumagen that said...
Kal, you are, of course, right. While I have seen two generations of both the Panasonic and Pioneer in darkened rooms and enjoyed both, I have never directly compared the two in those conditions. I have only directly compared them in the lighter and cramped conditions of electronics retailers in Tokyo so felt I had to make my comment on blacks conditional. Perhaps I should have also made my comment on color differences conditional but I have noticed that even without directly comparing them side by side. In any case, I could live with either one.