PLASMA TV REVIEWS

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 08, 2009 0 comments
Price: $1,700 At A Glance: Good performance out of the box • Excellent resolution • Impressive black level and shadow detail • Accurate color

It Keeps Getting Better

When I visited Panasonic in Japan in the fall of 2004, with a gaggle of other journalists, plasma was the dominant flat-panel technology. But it was still pricey. On that visit, Panasonic told us that its goal was to get plasma prices down to $100 per diagonal inch.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 24, 2009 0 comments

Unless you live under a rock&#151;in which case, you probably don't read <I>UAV</I>&#151;you know that Pioneer's Kuro plasma TVs are the finest flat panels ever made. You also know that Pioneer is getting out of the plasma business altogether, much to the dismay of videophiles everywhere.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 06, 2009 0 comments
Price: $7,000 At A Glance: Pricey, but offers unsurpassed image quality • No tuners or audio system • Last of the breed

The Last Hurrah for Kuro?

As I was finishing up this review, word arrived that Pioneer will exit the video display business. The economic climate, Pioneer’s premium prices, and the increasing market share of LCD displays combined to create a perfect storm that the company could not overcome. Pioneer panels will continue to be available through the end of 2009, including the Elite Signature Series monitors.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Mar 23, 2009 0 comments
Price: $1,500 At A Glance: Razor-sharp detail with HD content • Solid blacks and shadow detail • Less-than-inspiring performance with DVD

Best Value at the Warehouse

In the six short years that Vizio has sold flat-panel TVs in the U.S., the company has risen to third place in flat-panel sales (plasma and LCD combined) in the North American market. This tremendous and rapid success is because of the high value that these TVs offer—in particular, they offer surprisingly good picture quality for surprisingly little money.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 16, 2009 0 comments
Price: $9,995 At A Glance: Superb resolution • Near reference-quality blacks • No tuners or speakers • HDMI is version 1.2a, not 1.3

Custom Home Theater

I watched a lot of television when I was growing up. But I was also a passionate reader. OK, more often than not, I was reading a RadioShack catalog or the latest issue of the now-defunct Audio or High Fidelity. But sitting at least a dozen feet away from my parents’ 21-inch console television, with all the room lights on, it was easy to divide my attention between the book—er, magazine—and the latest episode of Gunsmoke.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 17, 2009 0 comments
This review is part of a four-way Face Off. Read the introduction and conclusions of the Face Off here.

Manufacturers of flat-panel plasma televisions have been refining the technology for years. But Pioneer has been particularly successful at it. In the past, the company made some of the world’s best rear-projection CRT sets, and it knew that great black levels are the foundation of a great picture. That philosophy has paid off over the years, particularly in recent-generation KURO sets.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 17, 2009 0 comments
This review is part of a four-way Face Off. Read the introduction and conclusions of the Face Off here.

The Panasonic TH-50PZ800U is one of the first HDTVs to earn THX certification. But you might ask, “Isn’t THX mainly into audio?” I can see where you’re coming from, but THX isn’t exactly new to the home video business. It has certified video software for years and has begun to do the same for projectors and flat-panel displays.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 02, 2009 0 comments

I watched a lot of television growing up. But I was also a passionate reader. Okay, more often than not what I was reading was a Radio Shack catalog or the latest issue of the now-defunct <I>Audio</I> or <I>High Fidelity</I>. But sitting at least a dozen feet away from my parents' 21-inch console television with all the room lights on, it was easy to divide my attention between the book&mdash;er, magazine&mdash;and the latest episode of <I>Gunsmoke</I>.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 20, 2009 0 comments

When Pioneer first introduced its Kuro plasma TVs a couple of years ago, everyone was amazed at their deep blacks, stunning detail, and gorgeous colors. Those first Kuro models represented Pioneer's eighth generation of plasma TVs, including the 50-inch <A href="http://ultimateavmag.com/flatpaneldisplays/308pio110fd/">PRO-110FD</A> from Pioneer's upscale Elite line. The current offerings are referred to as 9G and include the 50-inch <A href="http://ultimateavmag.com/flatpaneldisplays/808pio111/">Elite PRO-111FD</A>, which exhibits even deeper blacks than the previous generation.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 12, 2009 0 comments
Price: $2,700 At A Glance: Exceptional color adjustments for excellent color • Outstanding resolution • Punchy image but disappointing black level • THX Cinema mode is inaccurate

Calibrator’s Delight

LG may be one of the world’s largest LCD makers, but the company is still very much in the plasma game, with an updated lineup of six plasma HDTVs.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Dec 30, 2008 1 comments

In the six short years since Vizio flat-panel TVs have been sold in the U.S., the company has risen to be ranked third in flat-panel sales (plasma and LCD combined) in the North American market. This tremendous and rapid success is due to the high value offered by these TVs&mdash;in particular, surprisingly good picture quality for surprisingly little money.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Nov 13, 2008 0 comments

In my review of the <A href="http://www.ultimateavmag.com/flatpaneldisplays/lg_50pg60_plasma_tv/">LG 50PG60</A> plasma, I identified its product line as one of only two with THX video certification. The other is Panasonic's PZ800 line, which includes a 58-incher as well as the 50-inch TH-50PZ800 reviewed here. Is its THX performance consistent with the 50PG60's? I was eager to find out...

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 03, 2008 0 comments
Price: $5,000 Highlights: Blacks to die for • Precise color and excellent resolution • 72-hertz operation on film-based sources for judder-free motion • Video processing could be better

Once More, With Feeling

My review schedule is starting to look a bit like the Pioneer Channel. But timing is everything. Pioneer is introducing a boatload of interesting new products, including the newest KURO flat panels. These include the upcoming Signature Series KURO monitor plasma models. Pioneer says these models will offer enough adjustments to inspire video calibrators to set up shop in buyers’ homes. “Will calibrate for room and board.”

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Oct 20, 2008 0 comments

As most home-theater enthusiasts know, THX has a long history of certifying audio products to conform to certain standards of performance in order to reliably replicate the content producers' intended experience at home. This was a natural outgrowth of the company's original mandate to do the same thing for mixing stages and commercial cinemas.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 06, 2008 0 comments
The One to Beat?

While LCD displays may dominate that video wall at your local Best Circuit Shack these days, don’t dismiss the benefits of plasmas. No company has put more R&D into plasma development than Panasonic, and it’s paid off. People may disagree about who makes the best plasma sets, but no one will dispute that Panasonic is in the thick of the action. When it comes to the breadth of its product range, Panasonic is the champ.

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