FLAT PANEL REVIEWS

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 07, 2012 0 comments
2D Performance
3D Performance
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Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1,800 At A Glance: Crisp resolution • Bright 3D • So-so black level • Poor screen uniformity

The last three flat-panel HDTVs reviewed in these pages averaged over $4,000 each—a figure inflated, to be sure, by one of them costing $6,000. Statement products tell us what’s possible and where the technology is going. Most Home Theater readers want to know these things.

Al Griffin Posted: Jan 30, 2012 0 comments

I won’t assume that everyone will know what I’m talking about when I drop the word “Kuro,” but longtime Sound+Vision readers may recall a line of high-end, and accordingly high-priced, Pioneer Elite plasma TVs that we heaped praise upon back in the day.

Al Griffin Posted: Dec 28, 2011 0 comments

Much of the R&D effort for Panasonic’s TVs gets funneled into plasma technology — with excellent results. (Check out the TC-P55VT30 in our Editors’ Choice Awards here.) But as we found out this time last year upon reviewing the company’s TC-L42D2, it also makes sets of the LCD persuasion. Quite a few of them, in fact.

Scott Wilkinson Posted: Nov 28, 2011 1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
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Price: $1000 At A Glance: Beautiful color • Sharp detail • Reasonably good blacks • Outstanding value

Panasonic is well known for its high-quality, high-value plasma TVs, but how good can its $1000 50-incher be? Really good, as it turns out. The TC-P50S30 offers nearly identical performance to the highly rated TC-P50ST30—the only real difference is that the S30 has no 3D capabilities. If you're looking for a 50-inch flat panel with only $1000 to spend, look no farther.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 09, 2011 35 comments
Editor's Note: Home Theater is pleased to bring you this exclusive first look at Sharp's groundbreaking Elite LCD HDTV. As you'll read in Tom Norton's superb and thorough review, it is the first LCD that can truly go head-to-head with the now-discontinued Pioneer Elite Kuro plasmas for the title of Best TV Ever. Enjoy, and please post your comments.—Rob Sabin


2D Performance
3D Performance
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Price: $6,000 At A Glance: Class-leading blacks and shadow detail • Superb resolution • Bright, vivid 3D

When Pioneer announced it was dropping out of the HDTV business in 2009 (its remaining sets were available on a limited basis until early 2010), the video world shuddered. While there were sets at the time that could at least match Pioneer’s Elite-branded Kuro models with respect to color, resolution, and video processing, most independent observers—and most A/V reviewers—agreed that no other sets could equal the Pioneers’ black level. But in an era of dropping flat-panel prices, Pioneer couldn’t hope to match the competition’s stickers while retaining the quality it was known for, and they succumbed to market forces.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 27, 2011 5 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
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Price: $3,000 At A Glance: Accurate color, excellent resolution • Exceptional control features • Good but relatively dim 3D

We’ve said it before: Plasmas are the sand-in-the-face-at-the-beach, wallflower, last-kid-picked members of the flat-panel team. LCDs clearly dominate today’s HDTV market. But plasmas are also the Cinderella stepsister whose beauty becomes obvious when you really look for it. And at least three major manufacturers, including Samsung, think enough of plasma sets that they continue to make and promote them.

Al Griffin Posted: Oct 19, 2011 0 comments

When they first arrived a few years back, LED-driven LCD TVs with a full array backlight made a big splash. Why? Because the backlight, a grid of LED lamp modules spanning the rear of the display panel, can be modulated via local dimming — a process that enables the set to track specific areas in the image, turning select modules on, off, or somewhere in between.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 28, 2011 11 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $3,800 At A Glance: Exceptional black levels • Outstanding detail and color • Head-tilt 3D ghosting

With the growing popularity of LED backlighting for LCD HDTVs, it’s easy to forget that not all such backlighting is created equal. LEDs can be configured to provide either backlighting or edge lighting. In either case, the lighting can be steady, with image brightness dependent only on the pixels of the LCD imaging panel, which darkens the picture as the source requires. Or the lighting can be dynamic, in which the set can dim the backlighting or edge lighting from instant to instant, as needed, assisting the LCD pixels in adjusting for the optimum light output.

Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Sep 20, 2011 0 comments

For a time, there was Kuro, and Kuro was king. Kuro made other TVs envious of its awesomeness. Then. . . there was no Kuro. TV reviewers wept; everyone else bought LCDs. Under-intelligenced “pundits” foretold the end of plasma TVs — but Panasonic, Samsung, and LG quietly coughed and politely said, “Umm, we still make plasmas.”

Al Griffin Posted: Sep 20, 2011 0 comments

While Panasonic plasmas traditionally excel on the picture-quality front, they’ve lagged a bit behind other flat-panel TVs when it comes to style. Take last year’s VT25 series. The picture on those sets was hard to fault (the 50-incher we reviewed won our 2010 Video Product of the Year award), but when positioned alongside new, ultra-slim plasmas from companies like Samsung, the Panasonic’s 3-inch panel depth and thick gloss-black bezel rendered it caveman-like by comparison.

Al Griffin Posted: Aug 29, 2011 0 comments

While 3D movies haven’t totally taken over the multiplex, the format remains a force to be reckoned with. Michael Bay just released a new Transformers installment in 3D (Transformers: Dark of the Moon), James Cameron is at work on Avatar sequels, and the entire Star Wars saga is being formatted for 3D release.

Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 08, 2011 9 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1300 At A Glance: Exceptional color and detail • Deep blacks • Non-uniformity clearly visible in letterbox bars and dark scenes • Smart TV functions well implemented

The Samsung UN46D6000 LED-edgelit LCD TV is among the best-selling flat panels from several retailers, and for good reason—it's a superb performer in almost every respect. Out of the box, it turned in the most accurate measurements of any TV I've ever reviewed (that is, after I selected the Movie picture mode), its color and detail are exquisite, its blacks are very deep, and the Smart TV online content looked better than I've seen from most displays. The only real fly in the ointment is the non-uniformity of illumination in dark scenes and letterbox bars, which is endemic of just about all LED-edgelit LCDs. But if you can get past that, the UN46D6000 is an exceptional value I would recommend to anyone looking for a flat panel on a budget.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 03, 2011 0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1,100 At A Glance: Bright, pleasing picture • Crisp detail • Poor contrast • Highly reflective screen

We’re reasonably certain that most folks looking for a budget HDTV probably aren’t poring through the pages of enthusiast publications like Home Theater for advice. If they’re researching at all, they’re studying the easy-to-digest bubble ratings in Consumer Reports or Which Video, or Googling generic consumer-help Websites.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 01, 2011 10 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1,500 At A Glance: Crisp, detailed images • Odd gammas in Custom mode • Little to complain about • Exceptional value

Panasonic means plasma. Yes, the company now offers a line of LCD displays, but only in smaller sizes. If you want a 50-inch or larger Panasonic, it will be a plasma. And that's not a bad thing. The TC-P50ST30 is Panasonic's latest, budget-priced, 50-inch 3D model. Only a few short years ago, you couldn't touch this level of quality in a 2D-only flat panel for five times the price—or more.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 01, 2011 4 comments
2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1,900 At A Glance: Good blacks and shadow detail • Odd gammas in Custom mode • THX certified • Uniformity and calibration issues

The GT30 line is the baby bear in Panasonic's range of 3D plasma HDTVs—not to expensive, not too bargain-basement, but, for many buyers, just right. And at 50 inches, one of today's most popular sizes, the P50GT30 lands right in the sweet spot. But does it offer more than Panasonic's entry-level ST30, perhaps even challenging the pricier VT30 lineup? We're here to find out.

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