Yes Pioneer and Panasonic are the two front runner plasma units.
I own the Pioneer Elite - event better than the standard set. The blacks are fabulous, great resolution and picture quality - well worth the money
The newest version has 1080p
You should probably go over to avsforum.com. You'll find more than you ever want to know there. I have the 5070 myself and I'm happy with it. All things considered price, picture quality, appearance made this set the best bet for my money.
Many people including myself think the Panasonic consumer version with the silver frame is ugly. Otherwise the PQ is good.
I'll probably buy Pioneer next time. My Panasonic plasma started the shutdown problem only after 3 years. I've found out at avsforum.com that this is a common problem that Panasonic won't address.
I just purchased a Panasonic pro model. It came with a five year warranty. The HDMI input board is extra and it has no tuner. But it has the ability to be upgraded because the input boards can be replaced. Panasonic pro models are considered better than their consumer models which is the opposite for Pioneer. And it has a black cabinet that is very sleek. You can get one for less than 2000.00 if you search. The HDMI board was 125.00. The model is the TH50PH9UK.
Recently purchased the Panasonic TH50-PX60U... very pleased with it.
You can't really lose with either the Pana or Pioneer models.
I ultimately chose the Pana because it was somewhat cheaper (although the Pioneer had a slightly better PQ - by a nose) and it outperformed the Pioneer in standard def - which we will be stuck with for a little while longer.
Good Luck with your purchase!
When I purchased my plasma last year, I did a lot of side-by-side comparisons with the same content and same conditions. I compared Pioneer to Panasonic, LG, Phillips, Samsung and Hitachi. I found Pioneer to be superior. Having said that, when I started to compare price, size and PQ I chose Hitachi. I found the Hitachi PQ to be better than Panasonic and for a little more money I got 5 extra inches of viewing space. With approximately 97% of the PQ of a Pioneer and significantly lower price, the Hitachi became a no brainer. Some will argue the Panasonic PQ is better than the Hitachi. This past December I did another comparison check and I still don't think the Panasonic is better. The problem for American consumers is that they're just not exposed to Hitachi products, but in Japan they sell a ton of Hitachi plasmas.
Go for the Pioneer 5070..you won't be disappointed. I found that when comparing the Panasonic to the Pioneer plasma, the Pioneer had more accurate colors (perhaps a better color processor or different glass) and definitely a more attractive bezel. Whichever set you decide on, make sure you buy from an authorized dealer. I can refer you to where I purchased mine at a good price, just send me an email. Good luck and let us know what you decide.
Either one will be good. Contrary to the above poster, I'd recommend 'not' going over to avsforum. AVSforum is the place of fanboys and ignorance for the most part.
I found that NOTHING compares to actually checking the stuff out yourself in a store.
I check out AVSFORUM for news and issues regarding certain items and it is adequate for that use.
However, I find that you should take ALL forums with a grain of salt until you get to know who (or what) you can trust.
I did find that some tech stuff that was posted saved me a TON of time in doing some non-detailed "calibration" of some settings for my plasma.
Of course, like anything, YMMV.
I find avsforum really hard to navigate. There are streams of posts, often in conversational style. It's as though you walked into the middle of a discussion, but don't know what's being discussed. You find posts that read: I went to the store today and they didn't have it, said it would be two weeks. I much prefer the layering used by Audio Asylum.
I totally disagree with Goatwuss as to everone over at avs forum as being "the place of fanboys and ignorance". When I needed help with video issues, there was always someone who offered suggestions and help.
I've found AVS Forum extremely helpful. I agree that it is difficult to navigate; and, I find, particularly difficult to find information I need when I do a search. On the other hand, I've found it easier to use, and more helpful, as I've spent more time on it. Definitely worth it for me. The depth of information (on a forum) can be unsurpassed (in my experience). Ignorance? Well sure, there's some everywhere. Fanboys? I don't know what that means.
Both Pioneer and Panasonic are excellent. One thing worth checking is how they handle ordinary DVD or standard TV signals compared to 720p 0r 1080p. Unfortunately both LCD and Plasma have fixed pixels of many flavors (unlike CRT's)..most upscaled signals actually look WORSE than in their native format on an ordinary non-HD TV. Given that ordinary non-HD signals are going to be with us for many years to come then it is worth checking how well the TV upscales.
In terms of reliability/low cost/longevity LCD is better than Plasma.
In terms of picture quality Plasma is better than LCD.
Just my two cents...
I'm a Panasonic fan for life.
A few years ago (late 2003) I too did a lot AVSForum reading and a lot of side-by-side comparisons. At the time the members on the AVSForum seemed to agree that Fujitsu had the best overall picture (but was very expensive), followed closely by Panasonic, then the Pioneer (w/ the Panny and Pioneer being very close in price). What was being posted was that the Fujitsu and Panasonic had the best black levels and the Pioneer had the nicest brightest colors (The Pioneer blacks were not as deep when compared to the Fujitsus or Pannys). My side-by-side comparisons had similar results. Therefore w/ the price performance of the Panny, I ended up buying the 6th generation 50 inch panel. If I'm not mistaken, the 7th generation panel was the one w/ the shutdown problem - but I'm not sure.
With that said, (as a casual observer) today I think you can pretty much flip a coin and not be disappointed. Everybody's panels PQ seem pretty close to me, but I like I said I'm looking as closely as before. Today I would look for AVSForum postings of complaints for glitches / manufacturing issues (e.g., shutdown issues, weird line issues, weird color issues, etc.).
After an extensive side by side comparison of just about every plasma TV on the market the best is with little doubt the Pioneer Elite models (50 & 43 now 42 inch versions). If you speak to most who sell many different brands and are viewing these dispays daily, most will agree that they provide the highest quality. Examples are Tweeter, Magnolia and Highend audio/visual dealers. I have found that the newest Pioneer 1080P Elite versions are better than previous models when playing some BluRay discs, but; very similar in picture quality when playing standard DVD's....simply amazing. Pioneer has announced a new technology they will be previewing this summer that will represent their best yet. I will have to see it to believe it.
Here is a link to information on the newest plasma technology to be introduced by Pioneer in the near future. If they can provide the quality of a CRT in a flat panel display, as they claim.....they certainly will have tremendous success, continue to feed demand for plasma displays and re-establish a price point that they have dearly desired. Read on:
Gocubs999 - I wonder how Pioneer's new technology will compete with Cannon/Toshiba's SET?
Is the Panasonic 50px60u the same as the 50px600u expcet for cable card input and different styling?
Does the newer set 600u, have a better picture?
That is a very good question. My research indicates that Toshiba has backed away from their original intent to introduce a flat panel display utilizing the SED technology in 2007. Here is a website you can go to to learn more about Pioneers intention for release of this newest technology. http://gear.ign.com/articles/753/753836p1.html
Type in Google "SED Flat Panel Display" to find a wealth of information on SED developments.
Hope this helps.
Pioneer is acknowledged as the best in the industry. If your budget will allow, go for it. My budget would not allow me to go the pioneer route, so I opted for Panasonic and I am very satisfied - great picture. I agree that plasma offers the best picture, but make sure you are very familiar with plasma shortfalls (i.e.: potential after image retention, life expectancy). Proper setup and operating procedures will prolong the life expectancy of you plasma (READ the manual -all of it. Then go online and do a little research).
Note: a great TV needs a great DVD player and a great HDMI cable. The savings you may incur buying Panasonic over Pioneer could leave you more cha-ching for supplemental toys!
The average life expectancy for a plasma TV is approx. 30,000 hours. If you watch TV 6 hours a day 7 days a week....which is a lot, that means the life expectency before cells begin to fail is 13-14 years. I don't know about you, but; I would venture to say very few people hang on to a TV for that long. Normally, most will upgrade to a newer set/technology long before the set wears out. In fact, I would not be surprised if the CRT's of old (which still provide the best picture quality on the planet) would last that long without needing some repair(s). In addition many plasma models now offer some form of screen saver to protect the TV from burn in as well. OLED is just around the corner and with much less power consumption, a razor thin screen and superior picture, the myths surrounding conventional plasma TV's will be an after thought....and another reason to upgrade.
Just a thought.
Aren't current generation Plasmas up to 60,000 to 80,000 hours to 1/2 britness?
These are the top two brands and I agree with 2chnlben that Pioneer is the top in the industry. Everybody seems to be saying Pioneer is the best. That may explain why they cost a bit higher than the rest.
I believe that the only differences between the Panasonic 60U and the 600U are the PC inputs.
You can check http://www.panasonic.com for the info under the Television section - tech specs.
If you really want somewhat better quality and want a Panasonic, you may want to wait for the 1080P sets that should be out soon.
DeeCee - The 600 also has PIP, Cable Card capability, and better audio.
Nano Proprietary won its SED licensing lawsuit against Canon last month. If the two parties can't come to an arrangement out of court this will adversely impact Canon's ability to mass produce SED televisions, because the licensing agreement with Nano doesn't extend to Toshiba, who Canon is relying on for mass production. Given the stakes and the significant investment (estimates range from $1B - 1.7B) Canon has made in this technology, it's hard to believe they won't work out a deal with Nano Proprietary, however this development stands to further delay the release of SED.
The only thing about Plasma - Is burn is NOT a myth.
I watch a lot of 4x3 content (I use black bars on the side, and do not stretch or screw with the aspect ratio) and my 600U has 2 vertical white lines where the 4x3 cuts off when I'm watching widescreen content. It's more image retention than burn in - after a couple of widescreen these dissapate - but plasma burn in is not a myth
goatwuss - what model and how old is it?
many of these issues have been reduced dramatically
in 4th 5th and 6th generation plasmas
So what did you decide on?
I'm taking a look at the 52" Sharp LCD too.
There are some really great deals out there now in plasma TV's that are being replaced - Panasonic, HP.
Read the AVS.forum discussions of vertical banding in Sharp LCDs, particularly the 52" and the 56".