I bought a Panasonic plasma around 6 months ago.....outstanding picture quality IMHO (and so far no problems at all).
To be honest though.......any of the top brands are probably great.
I now have 2 Samsung LED's which are outrageous. Check them out for certain before you make a final decision.
I first went with a Pioneer Plasma which was a great set, but I note that you're in Mobile - I'm in south Florida, and the amount of heat the thing generated (as many plasma's do)was so great that after a half hour the room (albeit small) was almost unlivable.
The Panasonics and Samsungs get great reviews. Go see what you like, but for sure the settings in the big box stores are hopeless.
I suggest you read the buying guide over at Home Theater magazine's web site to hlep you choose a technology -- LCD or plasma. After that, pick a manufacturer. Plasma was the best fit for me and I chose Panasonic based on HT magazine reviews. The THX mode is very good, but still not as good as the Pioneer Kuro -- which are no longer in production. I've been very happy with its performance with SD material from cable.
Ask yourself what features and benefits that you need and make an intelligent based on your own.
If you just need a 55" flat panel LCD with 120 Hz, I would recommend the Samsung LN55C630 that you can catch it on sale between $1,299.00 to $1,499.00. The Samsung LN series use the old CCF light so it's heavy and a bit thicker than the LCD/LED. It does not matter much if you will not hang them on the wall.
If you need a LCD/LED that provides you 1.5" thick and can be hanged ( not wall bracket-mount) on the wall with Samsung cable mount then go with the UN55 series. The benefits are 40% more effiency ( less electric bill), higher contrast ratio, can be hanged flat against the wall without any bulky wall-mount. Of course, you will have to pay some more $$$ for these attractive benefits.
Panasonics make some awesome Plasma with THX certified and wifi ready....Do you need Internet Apps or do you not ?
Mits has some nice flat panel with blu tooth capacity and nice array of internal speakers. Will you be using the internal speakers at all or will you not?
3D Tv is here to stay that why the price on these LCDs and LCD/LEDs price drops like fly. You do not want 3D, this is the time to catch some of the good sell.
LG and Samsung LCD/LEDs have the best picture and functionality wo a doubt but they cost more. I bought a 240 hz LG 55" last week for $1500 free ship on Amazon. It was easy to set up, $700 less than I could find a 240 HZ model locally. Fully internet enabled which is slick. The Panasonics are cheaper but in an exhaustive side by side comparison the picture was a step down. The Sony's are pretty close but still a step below. I did not find the Sharps to be as good. IMO the LG and Samsung are in a class by themselves. I did not look for 3D. I had a hard time finding a Plasma option as they are being phased out and the reflective screens will be problematic unless they are in a dark home theater.
I am very happy with my Panasonic 50" plasma, have had it a year and a half now. I would also highly recommend that you have it professionally calibrated after the 200 hour break-in, this made a huge difference, and now I know how to mess with it myself if I ever feel the need to.
I have Panasonic Plasma and Sony LCD (XBR). I perfer plasma. Beware, most make several quality levels. I was in a Sony store last week. They display the models side by side. The more you pay, the better the picture.
I have two Vizio's, a 32" LCD and a 50" plasma...very happy with both.
I have an older Vizio 50" (3-4 yrs old) and it is nice but quirky. On occasion it will loose the picture or sound and I will have to turn it off and on again to restore whichever one stopped working. This makes me nervous, I do not recommend Vizio for that reason.
As you can tell by the variety of responses here, there are many good choices. I think the technology has progressed so much, that the choices are huge, and you don't have to spend top dollar to get great performance.
I used to only buy Sony XBR displays, then Panasonic Plasma, then Samsung LCD, now they all look, to me very much alike. With such similar performace, I would check out Consumer Reports and some of the electronics websites to see which companies/models have the best least problems.
Good luck, lots of choices.
Mmike 84 brought out a very good draw back of the Plasma : reflective glass pannel and also a bit of heat generated. So if you have high ambience lights, move on to the LCD/LED.
That's the first question anye salesman should qualify the customer for. LCD/LED flat pannels, especially the LCDs come with the non-reflective screen.
Do not worry too much abt the 600Hz sub-field motion of the Plasma and the 120/240hz of the LDC/LED unless you spend time after time staring at the fast moving objects.
Trust your own eyes, period. I have customers would not want the LED because its " cartoonist" color and they prefer the Sony with subtle "white and black" level. Others just WOW at the LEDs higher contrast ratio. The beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, indeed. Good luck.
If you're in a very bright room or are into gaming I'd go with LCD/LED. If light is not as much of a concern and you're into movies and sports I'd side with plasma for better blacks and less motion blur. Plasmas also have a much wider viewing angle if that's a concern.
I've had a Panasonic 50" plasma under heavy use for 2 years and it's been fantastic, and you can get them very cheaply these days. A buddy of mine has a Samsung 55" LCD and it also looks very good, but I noticed as we were watching a soccer game I saw the motion blur that I don't get with my plasma and it bothered me quite a bit. His LCD is about a year old and is not top-of-the-line so maybe the newer/pricier ones are better in this regard.
It's like others have said, assess your priorities and choose the technology accordingly. Once you've got that down you probably can't go wrong with a Panasonic plasma or a Samsung LCD/LED -- they're both great. Best of luck.
Another vote for the Panasonic plasma from me too.
I have been very happy with my Panasonic 58 inch THX certified plasma HDTV. It has a great picture with deep dark black backgrounds
FYI: I am actually surprised that the heat output is not more than it is. My father has an older 42 inch Panasonic Plasma that pumps out the heat, whereas my 58" barely seems warm. (Especially in comparison to the Lamm M2.1 monoblocks that are in the same room!)
My two cents worth.
Oh yeah - besides many of the good points here regarding ambient light, LCD / LED's are not so good off axis as the plasma's.
If you're going to be milling around while watching versus having a dedicated position to watch, the plasma's have an advantage there.
find one which reproduces 100% of the NTSC color spectrum. They are scarce; most tv's only reproduce around 70% of the available colors. Like high-end audio or marriage, you don't know what you're missing until you experience it, then you're done for.
It seems like now that Pioneer is not making their top-rated Kuro line, Panasonic is the one to go with if you decide on plasma. That is what I will do when I get enough money, and I have low light in the living room and the seating is really spread out. I think those are the main contingencies as to which type to get. If you have a lot of light and maybe one couch, go with the lcd/led. Samsung seems like a good start for these.
panasonic plasma --have the pioneer engineers working for them now --good reliability --if not plasma look at the vizio LED
Samsung plasma 450 series (42") is what I picked up a year ago, and it's been killer. The advantage of the Samsungs over the Panasonics is that they have more picture control, which is useful if you are obsessed w/customizing your viewing experience. There are a ton of 450 owners who love them...check 'em out.
I have a Samsung 58" 850 series plasma an I am extremely immpressed with the picture. Few standard def channels are ok, high def is very good. I don't watch dvd's as much as blu ray and 1080P 24 FP is just astonishing. Best I've seen. Only 8 months old and still impresses me....gives off a lil heat but at 12+ feet away it isn't noticable...
Thanks for the input so far. I was all set for plasma but then at bestbuy they had a samsung led tv. Wow! I will keep looking though. Any input is appreciated.
Joe in Mobile
Be sure you are comparing any two sets *at their best*. This very rarely happens, in my experience. In fact, it is extremely difficult to do in an average, "big box,chain" store.
Good luck to you.
it's purely subjective of course, but i still think plasma is the superior technolgy for all but very bright rooms; plasma clearly has a significant edge in off-axis viewing and motion blur, and i've never personally observed a problem with heat with my several panasonics. however, several acquaintances and i have experienced some qualty issues with panasonic, esp. problems with power supply; all things being equal i might opt for a samsung plasma. if you scour web shopping sites like bradsdeals or dealnews, you'll find some often astounding daily deals from reputable sellers--for example, 6th avenue electronics is selling a 58" 1080 panny for $1375 + free shipping,
If you live in Hou, TX sometimes I can get you some crazy deal that the BlueBock cannot even touch. Good luck.
Plasma is outdated. It is being discontinued by all manufacturers. Hello?????It did not go over. LED is superior
Don't fall for the LED based on a hyped up store display! Plasma is still a very, very good technology, and they are affordable. LEDs are initially impressive, and my god, they are overpriced.
So we have 2 camps here, one camp is for the Plasma and one camp is for the LED.
It's true that Plasma will be outdated soon, period. However, no one can deny the PQ of the Pio Elite Plasma line. It's no longer in production and now the transformation to a less expensive line of the Panny. The Panny TCP58VT25 is the only one I would buy if I opt for Plasma. Otherwise, I would not recommend anything less than the Samsung LCD/LED UN55C6300/7000 series. They are not overpriced as some posters stated. The LCD/LED price drops substantially if you do not need the LED 3D.
It's true that you can get some Panny, Samsung or LG Plasma for under 1.5k ( 1080P/600hz) but the price of the un55c630 can be had for around 1.8k. Remember the 1.18" thin, clear pannel/ 120hz/ethernet port....and most of all, the mega contrast ratio and NO HEAT.
the ascendance of lcd is mainly a function of the lower manufacturing costs of lcd panels, not the superiority of lcd over plasma technology--in other words, manufacturers will push the more profitable product. lcd's energy efficiency is another factor. however, i've read that plasma's manufacturing costs are lowering, and energy consumption is evening out, so we'd expect to see something of a plasma resurgence. i do agree with bojack on led--it's initially eye-popping and astounding, but can get pretty fatiguiging in real world use. the great technological step-up is probably oled, which is very expensive and still developing, but from what i've seen is pretty amazing.
Don't think that plasmas are going away entirely, only the sizes below 50" are being discontinued eventually as far as I have heard. To me there was no comparison between plasma and LCD/LED - plasmas have much better blacks, which is very important for watching films, especially black and whites. They also have much better resolution of motion, so sports look much better. LCD/LED can have quite a bit of blur on the edge of motion. Also, I don't quite understand the glare comments - no one I know has a glare problem with their plasmas, whereas if viewed off center, LCD/LED just doesn't look right. Plasmas can be viewed even from very wide angles, which is necessary if you have having a bunch of people over to watch a game, for instance. And as for the heat issue, it simply isn't one for me - but mine is on a stand with lots of airspace. I had zero difference in my electric bill. They do run hotter, but if they are well ventilated, it's not a problem.