Flat Screen Recommendations: 50 to 60 inch

I'll consider any option, LCD, Plasma, "internet" TVs, etc.
Just want something that will look good out of the box. We watch DVD movies, stream from a Roku box, and news and a few stupid shows from cable TV. Will get less than 10 hours a week of play time. Interested in all opinions and experiences with current models.
Thank you in advance.
If you are looking for the "BEST" picture and stock sound from a large format monitor then I suggest a Pioneer Elite Kuro. I have had the 50" for 2 years now and I have not seen anything come out lately that better's it. Great sound to boot.
You can get a 55" samsung or LG LED backlit television for less than 2k from a lot of places including n**egg.. Not sure what the rules are about mentioning other stores...

They are thin, look amazing, can play some stuff off USB sticks, and for less the 2k holy crap.. Can't speak for their sound as I never use the built in sound...

I've ordered a couple at work and everyone is always blown away when I tell em it was less than 2k...

As far as I can tell the rules don't prohibit the mention of a place to source gear even if they are not Audiogon members or partners etc. Most people including myself usually post that they have no financial interest in the store mentioned.
I would still to this day suggest Plasma is the way to go but you dont watch a whole lot so LCD may be good enough for you. We watch a 58in Panasonic plasma and it looks amazing. Also have a 42in LG LCD that is so so, it looks good and has pretty good black levels but LCD has a fake cartoonish look plasma still trumps, not to mention black levels are still deeper on plasma aswell.
Just picked up a Panasonic TC-P58VT25, Panasonic's newest 58 inch plasma. This was the first flat screen I looked at and just said "WOW" since they stopped making the Kuro's. I read some reports a while ago that Panasonic bought the Kuro tech when Pioneer quit making TV's. Apparently this is one of the products that resulted from that tech transfer. I don't know how it would stand up side by side but, IMHO it looks great. Very deep blacks, great color.
Allow me to offer a suggestion out of the ordinary. If you do not need to mount the TV on a wall, seriously consider the Mitsubishi DLP TVs. I got a 60" WD-60638 from BestBuy for $797 with a FREE wieless BluRay player. That is NOT a typo.

The picture quality of this TV is outstanding, better than any plasma or LCD that I have seen. It looks so very natural and it is also very *fast*, no motion blur when watching hi-speed scenes - football, soccer, etc.

I am thoroughly pleased with this TV, it is MUCH better than I expected, especially considering the ridiculously low price that I paid.

If you want to move up their line, look at a WD-60738

Ssvlaunch: A Panasonic salesman told me that the power supply has been scaled back compared to the Kuro design.

Think it had something to do with EU restrictions.

Don't know if this makes a significant difference in
picture quality.

The 58 inch plasma looks awsome (it's about an inch deep?).
Thanks everyone. I'm going to print this out and go shopping.
I initially bought a Toshiba Plasma because it looked the best at Costco and because from what I had read, plasma had the more vivid colors/contrast... However.. Now that the LED Backlit LCD televisions are here... I think the game is over... Again.. the Samsung or LG LED/LCD TVs are available around 1600-1900 for 55"... Kinda impossible to beat..
Pioneer used to outsource Kuro its' panel manufacture to Panasonic.

Backlit LCD is still trumped by Plasma, its getting closer all the time but we are talking about today and not a year or so from now. But buy what makes you happy cause even if its not quite as good its not like your ever gonna do direct comparisons in your home.
My son-in-law just got a 42" Panasonic Plasma and the picture is knock-you-over fantastic. Beats the heck out of my Pioneer plasma, and my Sony.
I also agree about the Samsung LED backlit LCD TVs. I shop regularly at Costco and Sam's club, and pass large arrays of HDTVs under harsh viewing conditions at least twice a week. The LED backlit LCD displays stand out from the crowd with better saturation, sharper delineation, more natural presentation, subterranean black levels and an image that almost looks 3D. For a long time the Sony Bravias seemed to be the ones to beat, and their LED/LCD ones are outstanding. But for less money, the razor-thin LED/LCD Samsungs equal or surpass them. They're the ones I have my eyes on for my next purchase (hopefully April).
I have a 5 year old Pioneer 43" plasma and a brand new 37" LG LED-lit LCD screen. Even though my Pio is only 780p, it still has a better picture than almost any other 1080p screen I've seen (other than the later Pioneer Kuros). I haven't seen the new Pannys yet. LED/LCD screens are brighter and more eye-popping and tend to look better in the store. They also look great for things like Pixar animation. However, if you watch real-life films and sporting events, a good plasma is much more natural looking and less fatiguing - at least to my eyes. The LCD's always catch your eye in the store, but the plasmas are much more appealing to me. If I weren't constrained by my built-in cabinetry, I'd pick up a 50" used Kuro.
Do the plasma tv's still have reflection issues? I have a lot of ambient light where my Sony Bravia IV LCD is placed (which is why I went with an LCD). If the reflection issue of the plasma's has been solved, I would consider getting one.
I bought the panasonic tcp54g25 last month and it is fantastic! Picture is great and there is no problem with reflection. Good price too!

Joe in Mobile
Any flat screen that has a glossed front be it glass or other will have some sort of reflection but I think its always been overblown, yes you may see a felection of some things some times but its not as dramatic as most would argue. Some act like it drowns out the image and you just stare at the show the reflection is casting while missing actual electronic material, thats just not true :)
Panasonic plasmas are definitely the way to go now that Pioneer is not making their model anymore. I have a 50" plasma, and it is fantastic, especially after having it professionally calibrated after the break-in time (I watched carefully so I can do it myself in the future, or adjust this one if I need to).

Plasmas are the best for a couple of reasons - they have better blacks, so all color looks more realistic, and if you are a fan of black and white film, it looks WAY better on plasmas than LCD or LED. Also, movement in sports looks much better on plasmas, if you are a sports fan. And if you are viewing from an angle, plasmas look better than LCD's and LED's as well. The only real disadvantage is that they do put out more heat, and use more power.
Power schmower lol, OP said he doesnt use it many hours weekly anyway. I say hug a tree and fire up that Plasma!
I vote for the Panasonic G25. My 42 has done very, very well for the last year. The THX mode allows for plug and play excellent viewing.
The best plasmas are still better than the best LED LCD screens, particularly when you are at 50" and higher.

I would get either a G25 or V25 series Panasonic. The V series Panasonic comes with THX, so with little to no adjustments you can get a great picture. These plasmas can be gotten in 50", 58", and 65".

I just bought a V25 series 65" Panasonic plasma and couldn't be happier. I previously had a Pioneer Kuro 6010 60" HDTV and it was great, but I think this Panny is just as good, and it certainly is better than the best Samsung LED LCD's I have seen. Although Samsung also makes very good plasmas, I just think they are a smidge behind the Panny's, but they can be gotten at a cheaper price.

I agree completely with Allchemie - my mother-in-law just got an LED LCD, and it isn't even close to my Panasonic plasma. Also agree that the Samsung plasmas are quite good.
Any thoughts on the LG 60" plasma at Costco? Hard to tell under store lighting but it looked darned good when I stared at it for a minute or two last night. $1299! That's an incredible price but I have no idea how it compares to the other plasmas mentioned above as I didn't compare with the dozens of tv's they had.
Looked at them all. The best one for the money IMO is Samsung's PNC8000 63" plasma. It does make a little buzzing from the front of the screen though.

Many other TVs are good too but Samsung's new line will be very hard to beat at any realistic prices. Pioneer Elite and Panasonic's new ones are pretty good too. But the samsung is cheaper. Bought mine for $2500 and it came with a free blu ray player and 3d glasses (3d is a novelty IMO but it was "free").
I watched the Superbowl on a friend's Samsung LED backlit LCD set. It was excellent for the game, but we then watched Glee and the picture was just plain weird and, I think, wrong. It had that videotape quality that the soap operas have, or used to have back when. My friend said they got used to it, but I'm not sure I'd want to. Don't buy one of these sets until you spend some time watching a variety of programming on it and are comfortable that you like the way the picture looks. For me, I'll stick with plasma.
Dont skimp on size, my viewing distance is about 10 feet and we love our Samsung 63 inch Plasma, the Panasonic plasma viera line are highly recommended by home theater magazine's last TV review
good luck on your search.
Yea go buy a Smsung if you can put up with excess buzzing noise and a artificial picture..............great deal!
What model 60" LG plasma are you referring to...the 60PK550? I've had my 60PK550 for five months and I love it. It offers quite a bit of bang for the buck and Consumer Reports has it ranked as #3 for plasma sets in the 58"-63" range.
I second the recommnendation for the Panasonic TC-P58VT25. I have the older 58PZ850u and could not be happier. To get the best from the TV, have it professionally calibrated by an ISF technician.
The Pioneer KRP-500M Plasma was one the BEST that Pioneer ever made! I heard that Pioneer will make OLED HDTV's in the future.....
There's absolutely no buzz coming from my 1-inch thick Samsung LED. Yes, some LCD's have an artificial, animated picture quality and make real people look like cartoons. No argument there. But LED's are *completely* different. They combine the best attributes of plasma and LCD: excellent contrast, deep color, low glare, wide viewing angle, low power consumption.

I brought home several TVs a few months ago to do my own testing. I started with a 55" Samsung LCD. It had a stunning picture with DVD and Blu ray. When I say stunning, I mean absolutely gorgeous deep color! But cable content was animated with too much motion judder. So I returned it and bought a 50" Panasonic plasma. The Panasonic had an excellent picture at night when all the lights were out, but during the day it looked dark. At night, we couldn't have any lights on behind us without seeing them in the screen. This wasn't the case with the Samsung LCD. So we returned the Panasonic. On a whim, I bought a cheap 55" Toshiba LCD that was terrible. It had primitive calibration controls that wouldn't allow us to get the picture right. I couldn't return it fast enough. Then we bought a Samsung LED. Amazing picture! It has the deep color and excellent contrast of plasma with a minimal amount of glare and no motion judder. The picture is the best I've seen -- both with cable and Blu ray. We couldn't be happier.

Best Buy has a generous 30 day return policy that made this kind of testing possible. No questions asked.
What's the model number on that Samsung, Mingles?